Air Weapons: March 24, 2002


: Italy plans to upgrade its first 45 A129 Mangusta combat helicopters to the multi-role standard of the last 15 aircraft in the 60-aircraft force. Upgrades include:

@ a new five-blade rotor for improved maneuverability.

@ a new transmission able to deliver 30% more torque.

@ a strengthened fuselage and new landing gear to allow a 15% increase in takeoff weight.

@ a new 20mm TM197B nose cannon.

@ two rails for Stinger air-to-air missiles.

@ the ability to handle unbalanced weapons loads and drop tanks for extra fuel.

@ a new forward-looking infrared night vision system to allow better operating at night and in bad weather.

@ a GPS receiver added to the navigation system to provide more accuracy.

@ a third radio specifically for talking to ground units.

@ reduced radar cross section to make it harder to target the Mangusta.

@ upgraded laser-warning receiver and upgraded radar-warning receiver.

@ a new chaff and flare dispensor able to deal with more dangerous ground-to-air missiles.

@ the new AAR-60 missile launch detection system.--Stephen V Cole




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