AW149 Helicopter’s Live Fire Testing Activity With Rockets Caught On Camera

Some images of the AW149's live firing activities in Hungary (Credit: Benedek Levente/

Interesting footage shows the AgustaWestland AW149 during recent live fire tests in Hungary.

The AgustaWestland AW149 is an advanced, medium-lift multirole military helicopter developed by AgustaWestland, now Leonardo. Equipped with a single pilot NVG compatible low workload ‘glass cockpit’ with four 8” x 10” colour displays and state of the art Human Machine Interface, the AW149  features an open architecture mission system that enables the quick integration of customer specific avionics, mission and weapon systems to carry out a wide variety of missions, such as troop transport; re-supply/external load lift; medical and casualty evacuation; Search and Rescue (SAR) and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR); special forces operations; close air support/armed escort; Command and Control (C2); and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR).

In terms of weaponry, the Italian chopper, that is in service with the Royal Thai Army, was ordered by the Egyptian Navy and is a candidate to replace the RAF’s Puma helicopters as part of the UK’s New Medium Helicopter programme, can carry, internally, 2 x Sniper Rifle (Window) and 2 x 7.62 mm Machine Guns (Window / Cabin Door); and externally, 2x  12.7 mm Gun Pod or 2 x 20 mm Gun Pods; 2 x 2.75” Rocket Launchers (Guided / Unguided) as well as 2x Air Ground To Missile Launchers.

Leonardo S.p.A. did a live fire test trial, with the AW149 helicopter in Hungary earlier this year and our friend Benedek Levente of the blog had a chance to film and shoot the military chopper during the firing activity.

The helicopter, with Italian experimental registration CSX81848 and Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) grey livery, arrived for the first time at the Hungarian Bakony Combat Training Centre and firing range near Veszprém back in September and operated in Hungary for two weeks.

Leonardo worked together during the time with the local company called HM Arzenál Zrt. The hungarian company has the license to maintain, store and inspect live rocket/missile ammunitions. Arzenál did the same job back in 2017 and 2018, when Airbus Helicopters tested the HForce on their H145 helicopters.

The crew did most of the activity on the firing range, and flew there from Pápa air base, which besides a Hungarian military airfield, is also the homebase of the Heavy Airlift Wing. Some of its flying movement during the stay was shown on several flight track applications. Those showed that the AW149 used the PROVA83 callsign during the test phase.

After several days of familiarization flights (Fam Flight) near Pápa and the firing range, the helicopter shot its first 70 mm guided and unguided rockets on the last day of the test. After that it returned to Italy.

CSX81848 eventually came back to Hungary for the second time in November and this time it did fired several 70 mm rockets, including unguided salvos and laser guided rockets. The helo again stayed at Pápa Air base and flew usually midday near Veszprém for the test, when weather permitted and returned during sunset. The AW149 did live firing during hovering, some 3 to 4 kilometers from the target area and in flight as well.

Check out the following videos of the activities in the Hungarian range filmed by Benedek Levente during the November trials.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.