AgustaWestland AW189

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AgustaWestland AW189 Mockup 2011.jpg
AgustaWestland AW189 mockup at model launch
Role Medium-lift helicopter
National origin Italy
Manufacturer AgustaWestland
First flight 21 December 2011
Introduction February 2014
Status Operational
Primary users Bristow Helicopters
Gulf Helicopters
Produced 2011-present
Number built 20+
Developed from AgustaWestland AW149

The AgustaWestland AW189 is a twin-engined, medium-lift helicopter manufactured by AgustaWestland. It is derived from the AW149, and shares similarities with the AW139 and AW169. The AW189 has been referred to as being a 'super-medium' helicopter, and has been often contrasted with the competing Airbus Helicopters H175.[1]


On 20 June 2011, development of the 8-tonne twin-engine AW189 was formally announced by AgustaWestland at the Paris International Air Show; at the time, the company planned to have the new rotorcraft certified by 2013 and in service in 2014.[2] The AW189 is a civil-orientated version of the military AW149, which in turn is an enlarged development of the popular AW139; in 2011, AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini stated that: "The AW139 and the AW189 are two very different aircraft but they both share the same general concept in architecture".[3] AgustaWestland stated its aims to sell the AW189 for offshore helicopter support, search and rescue (SAR), and passenger transport roles.[4][5]

AgustaWestland AW189 at Paris Air Show 2013

On 21 December 2011, the first AW189 conducted its maiden flight from AgustaWestland's facility in Cascina Costa, Italy.[6][7] During the flight test program, a total of six AW189s were used, these being four prototypes and a pair of pre-production aircraft.[8] The pre-production aircraft were used to develop mission kits and configurations for offshore and SAR roles, enabling these to be immediately certified and available for customer selection.[4] In August 2013, the fifth prototype was dispatched to the UK, so that AgustaWestland's UK branch could begin work on certifying the type for SAR operations.[9] In June 2013, AgustaWestland announced that that the AW189 had entered full-scale production.[8]

In October 2013, the first production model performed its first flight; at the same time, work was proceeding on setting up a second production line for the type at AgustaWestland's center in Yeovil, United Kingdom.[4] In February 2014, the AW189 received type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA);[10] the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its certification for the type in March 2015.[11] In August 2015, civil certification for the AW189 was issued by the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC).[12]

In June 2015, it was reported that slow development of the ice-protection systems that is to be offered upon the AW189 had delayed the introduction of Bristow Helicopters UK-based SAR operations using the type, at the time being in a state of "operational evaluation".[13][14] In September 2015, AgustaWestland announced that EASA certification of the AW189's limited ice protection system had been granted, and stated that the rotorcraft is the first in its category to receive such certification.[15] In Autumn 2015, AgustaWestland conducted icing trials in Alaska to provide flight within full icing conditions certification as part of efforts to qualify the type for the SAR role; validation of the full-ice protection system is scheduled for mid-2016.[16][13]


The AW189 is a medium-sized twin-engined helicopter with a five-bladed fully articulated main rotor, a four-bladed tail rotor and a retractable tricycle landing gear. It is powered by two General Electric CT7-2E1 turboshaft engines. AgustaWestland refer to the AW189 as being a "super-medium class" helicopter, emphasizing its suitability for long range operations.[12] During development, the AW189 was designed to comply with the latest international regulatory safety requirements EASA/FAA Part 29, JAR OPS 3/EU-OPS.[12][17] Of particular important to the type's use for off-shore operations, such as for search and rescue and the oil & gas industries, the main gearbox has been designed to provide for a 50-minute run-dry capacity, in excess of requirements and a unique feature to the AW189.[4][5] Aspects of the AW189 are deliberately similar to the AW139 and AW169; these rotorcraft share similar flight performance characteristics, safety features, and design philosophies.[12] Areas of the aircraft's operation, such as maintenance and the layout of the cockpit, also continue this concept, which reportedly makes operations more cost effective.[12][17]

The cockpit features high levels of external visibility and advanced situational awareness technologies, and is designed to reduce crew workload and enhance safety.[12][17] Avionics on the AW189 are fully integrated and include four color LCD panels, a 4-axis dual-duplex digital automatic flight control system, autopilot, search/weather radar, cockpit voice recorder, flight data recorder, night vision goggle-compatibility, health and usage monitoring system, moving map system, SATCOM, synthetic vision system, emergency locator system, helicopter terrain avoidance system (HTAWS), traffic collision avoidance system II (TCAS II), direction finder, forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera, and VHF/UHF radio.[18][17] The avionics were designed to use an open architecture, making customer-specified upgrades and additions easier and enabling additional options.[18]

Dependent on the configuration, the AW189's cabin can accommodate up to 19 passengers and two crew members on crashworthy seats.[5] According to AgustaWestland, the AW189 possesses the largest cabin in its class, which is accessed via large sliding doors on either side of the fuselage; a separate externally accessed baggage compartment is also present.[17] The interior is customised to the mission role being undertaken, these include a self-contained emergency medical service (EMS) layout, passenger configurations (with in-flight entertainment systems offered), mission consoles for SAR and law enforcement operations, and an optional dividing wall between the cockpit and main cabin may also be installed.[18] Under certain conditions and limitations, the rotorcraft can be flown by a single pilot.[5] Various pieces of optional equipment can be installed upon the AW189, including fast roping kits, external electric hoist, cargo hook, air conditioning, auxiliary fuel tanks, mission console, emergency flotation system (certified up to Sea State 6), external life rafts, emergency lighting, external search light, main cabin bubble windows, wire strike protection system, de-icing systems providing multiple levels of protection.[18][17]

Operational history

In July 2013, AgustaWestland reported that they had received over 80 orders and options placed for the AW189.[19] By March 2015, there were roughly 150 orders for the AW189.[11]

On 7 January 2015, AgustaWestland announced that it had concluded a deal to supply 160 AW189s to the Russian oil company Rosneft by 2025. These helicopters will be produced by HeliVert, a joint venture between Finmeccanica-AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters (a subsidiary of the corporation Rostec).[20][21] Under the terms of the agreement made in 2015, HeliVert shall be responsible for final assembly of AW189s destined for the Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nations at its Tomilino plant near Moscow, the firm shall also receive an exclusive licence to market and manufacture the AW189 throughout the Russian and CIS market.[22][23]

In August 2013, UK-based Bristow Helicopters began promoting the AW189 to their offshore clients; Bristow intends to replace their Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma fleet with the AW189.[24] On 21 July 2014, Bristow, who served as the launch customer for the AW189, performed their first commercial flight of the type.[25][26] Bristow is to procure 11 SAR-configured AW189s as part of an 11-year contract under which Bristow is to take over SAR operations in the United Kingdom from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.[24][27] On 19 January 2015, U.S. helicopter operator AAR Airlift and partner British International Helicopters (BIH) were granted a £180 million ($275 million) 10-year contract, beginning in April 2016, to support UK defense ministry operations in the Falkland Islands. Two AW189s will conduct SAR duties on behalf of British Forces garrisoned out of Mount Pleasant Airfield on the South Atlantic islands, replacing RAF Sea Kings that will be retired at the end of March 2016.[28]

In July 2014, Asia-Pacific launch customer Weststar Aviation received its first AW189 in a ceremony at the Farnborough Airshow in Hampshire, England.[29] In November 2014, Middle Eastern launch customer Gulf Helicopters formally launched their first batch of AW189s into operational service.[30] In October 2014, Lease Corporation International (LCI) became the first aircraft lessor to take delivery of the AW189.[31]


A Weststar Aviation AW189 before delivery on display at 2014 Farnborough Air Show in England
External video
Official Video of AW189 Certification Milestones
A Prototype AW189 performing a Flight Demonstration at Vergiate Open Day
 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom
 United States

Specifications (AW189)

Data from EASA Type certificate[10] and Yeovil's New Twin[41]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2
  • Capacity: Up to 19 passengers
  • Fuel capacity: 2,063 litres (2,569 l with belly tank)
  • Length: 17.60[42] m (57 ft 9 in)
  • Main rotor diameter: 14.60 m (47 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 5.06 m (16 ft 7 in)
  • Wing area: 53.3 m2 (574 ft2)
  • Gross weight: 8,300 kg (18,300 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × General Electric CT7-2E1 turboshaft engine, 1,492 kW (2,000 hp) each each


  • Cruising speed: 267–278 km/h (166–173 mph)
  • Range: 370[43] – 907[18] km (230 / 490 miles)

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists



  1. "The Rise of the 'Super Mediums': EC175 & AW189." Aerossurance, 26 May 2014.
  2. "AgustaWestland Unveils The AW189 Helicopter". AgustaWestland. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Osborne, Tony (20 June 2011). "AW139 has 'changed' AgustaWestland's behaviour". The Shephard Group. Retrieved 25 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "First production AW189 performs its maiden flight." AirFramer 10 October 2013. Retrieved: 11 October 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Maher, Guy R. (April 2015). "All in the family". Vertical Magazine. pp. 55–62. Retrieved 11 April 2015. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> mirror
  6. "AgustaWestland’s New Generation AW189 Helicopter Completes Its Maiden Flight". AgustaWestland, 22 December 2011.
  7. Sarsfield, Kate. "AgustaWestland's AW189 takes to the skies". Flight International, 22 December 2011.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "New Generation AW189 helicopter enters full scale production." AgustaWestland, 18 June 2013.
  9. "AW139 SAR Certification Process." Helicopter International, 2013. p. 43.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "EASA Type-certificate data sheet No. EASA.R.510 for AW189" European Aviation Safety Agency, 23 January 2015. Retrieved: 12 March 2015.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Pope, Stephen (5 March 2015). "FAA Validates AgustaWestland AW189". Flying (magazine). Retrieved 13 March 2015. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 "AW189 helicopter obtains Russian civil certification." Vertical Magazine, 26 August 2015.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Perry, Dominic "Bristow still waiting on AW189 SAR introduction." Flight International, 16 September 2015.
  14. Perry, Dominic. "Bristow says no date yet for AW189 SAR service entry." Flight International, 22 June 2015.
  15. "AW189 Limited Ice Protection System receives EASA certification." Vertical Magazine, 28 September 2015.
  16. "Full Ice Gear Coming Soon on AW189." AIN Online, 17 October 2015.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 "AW189: Offshore." AgustaWestland, Retrieved: 22 December 2015.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 "AW189: Latest Generation Performance." AgustaWestland, Retrieved: 21 December 2015.
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  20. 20.0 20.1 "AgustaWestland to Supply AW189 Civil Helicopters to Rosneft ". AugustaWestland, 7 January 2015.
  21. "RN-Aircraft orders AW189 helicopters." Shephard Media, 21 July 2015.
  22. "Rosneft, Rostec and Finmeccanica Agreed on Production of AW189 Helicopters in Russia." Rosneft, 31 December 2014.
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  25. Osborne, Tony. "Bristow To Be Launch Customer Of AW189." Aviation Week, 28 March 2013.
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  27. Perry, Dominic. "Certification nears for SAR-roled AW189." Flight International, 26 November 2014.
  28. 28.0 28.1 "AAR Airlift Wins Falklands Helicopter Deal." Aviation Week, 19 January 2015.
  29. Sarsfield, Kate, "FARNBOROUGH: AgustaWestland delivers AW189 to Asia Pacific launch customer Weststar Aviation Services." Flight International, 16 July 2014.
  30. "Gulf Helicopters Celebrates AW189 Entry into Service." Finmeccanica, 10 December 2014.
  31. "LCI Helicopters is first lessor to take off with new AW189." Lease Corporation International, 14 October 2014.
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  37. Jeremy Parkin (17 February 2016). "Singapore – Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia orders two AW189s". Helicopter Investor. Retrieved 26 February 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. "Gulf Helicopters Signs Firm Orders for 15 AW189 Helicopters". AgustaWestland. Retrieved 21 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. "Dubai Air Wing Orders An AW189 For VIP Transport". AgustaWestland. Retrieved 21 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. "Milestone Aviation Group Signs Contract to Purchase First Eight New-Generation AgustaWestland Helicopters". AgustaWestland. Retrieved 28 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  41. Harding Air International May 2013, p. 56.
  42. overall length, rotors turning
  43. Harding Air International May 2013, p. 55.


  • Harding, Ian (May 2013). "Yeovil's New Twin". Air International. Vol. 84 no. 5. pp. 52–57.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links