AgustaWestland AW119 Koala

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AW119 Koala
NYPD helicopter N319PD (cropped).jpg
An AW119 with the New York City Police Department
Role Utility helicopter
Manufacturer Leonardo, before Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, Agusta
First flight February 1995
Introduction 2000
Status Active in production
Primary users Mexico State Government
Finnish Border Guard
Produced 2000–present
Number built ~300 (2018)[1]
Unit cost
Developed from Agusta A109

The AgustaWestland AW119 Koala, produced by Leonardo since 2016, is an eight-seat utility helicopter powered by a single turboshaft engine produced for the civil market. Introduced as the Agusta A119 Koala prior to the Agusta-Westland merger, it is targeted at operators favoring lower running costs of a single-engine aircraft over redundancy of a twin.[3]


The A119 designation was first applied to a proposed 11-seat stretched version of the A109 in the 1970s;[4] however this concept did not emerge and no such rotorcraft actually built. The helicopter that was eventually to enter production as the A119 was conceived in 1994, as Agusta was recovering from a period of financial woes that had nearly put the company out of business.[5] In February 1995, the second of two prototypes conducted its first flight.[6] The first prototype was used for static tests.[7] Civil certification was originally anticipated in 1997, this deadline was missed allegedly due to multiple issues such as personnel problems, the need to concentrate resources on the development of the A109 Power, and further development to increase the aircraft's performance to meet customer expectations.[8][6]

By way of a solution to the latter concern, the decision was taken to change the A119's powerplant. The prototypes were originally fitted with Turboméca Arriel 2K1 turboshafts, but the ubiquitous Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B was chosen in its place.[9] In 1998, the prototypes were remanufactured with this engine, and assigned new serial numbers.[7] Certification was now expected by the fourth quarter of that year, but this date slipped to July 1999, and it was eventually December before Italian RAI certification was awarded.[6] US FAA certification was awarded in February the following year.[6] Customer deliveries began soon thereafter,[6] the first commercial example was delivered to Australian logistics company Linfox (serial 14007, registration VH-FOX).[7]

In April 2007, the AW119Ke (Ke standing for Koala Enhanced) was formally unveiled at Heli-Expo; changes included modified rotor blade design and a higher rotor rpm, increasing both payload and hot-and-high performance, cabin flexibility was also improved.[10] The fuselages of the AW119 are manufactured by PZL Swidnik of Poland, later a subsidiary of AgustaWestland.[11] Final assembly and other manufacturing activity initially took place at Vergiate, Italy; by the time the improved AW119Ke variant began production, the final assembly line had been transferred from Vergiate to AgustaWestland's facility in Philadelphia, United States.[12][13]


Agusta AW119 Koala, 2008

The AW119 is a single-engine multirole helicopter, AgustaWestland promote the type as possessing excellent flight qualities with high levels of controllability, maneuverability and inherent safety.[14] The design of the rotorcraft is derived from Agusta's earlier and highly successful A109 helicopter, differing primarily by only being equipped with a single engine (as the A109 was originally designed),[5] a Pratt & Whitney PT6B-37A turboshaft engine, and using fixed skids in place of the A109's retractable wheeled landing gear arrangement.[15] The AW119 shares the same cockpit and cabin of the AW109, along with commonality with various other systems, while costing roughly half of the latter's price tag.[8] According to Flight International, the AW119 is competitively priced and provides good levels of accessibility, maintainability, comfort, noise levels, and speed.[16]

The AW119 employs a four-bladed fully articulated main rotor; the composite rotor blades are designed to produce maximum lift with minimum noise, and feature tip caps to reduce noise and elastomeric bearings with no lubrication requirements. Aluminium honeycomb structural panels are used throughout the airframe, which absorb both noise and vibration, thus requiring no additional vibration absorption systems to be employed.[17] The PT6B-37A powerplant of the AW119, located in the same area as the AW109 is capable of providing high power margins along with generous speeds and endurance.[14][18] According to AgustaWestland, the AW119 retains the system redundancy of dual engine helicopters, such as the hydraulics and the dual independent stability augmentation systems; the gearbox has a 30-minute dry run capability.[15][18]

The AW119 Koala has been used for various roles, including utility, emergency medical services (EMS), offshore, (USA only), law enforcement, and executive transport.[15] A key selling point of the type is its wide-body fuselage, which allows for up to seven passengers to be seated in a three-abreast configuration in the cabin; for the EMS mission, up to two litters along with medical attendants and full emergency medical equipment suite can be accommodated, whereas most similar-sized helicopters can only carry one.[3] The unobstructed cabin area and separate baggage compartment can be rapidly reconfigured to suit a range of different missions and roles. Several different cabin interiors may be adopted to accommodate different missions and operations, such as executive/VIP, EMS, and utility options; the cockpit can also be isolated from the cabin.[14] The AW119 has been promoted as possessing the largest cabin in its class; the reported cabin volume is approximately 30% greater than other rotorcraft in its class.[9][14]

AW119 Koala Ke at Wagga Wagga Airport, 2012

A wide range of avionics have been integrated upon the AW119, which are typically housed within the rotorcraft's nose.[19] Initial production models featured conventional flight instruments;[19] the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit is integrated on the newer AW119Kx variant, which is claimed to improve situational awareness, reduce pilot workload, and increase safety. Primary flight and other key information is displayed to the pilots upon two large 10.4 inch multi-function displays in the cockpit; an independently powered stand-by display is also present in case of system failure. Other avionics used include a 3-axis aircraft flight control system (AFCS), Synthetic Vision System (SVS), Highway In The Sky (HITS) depiction, moving map display, radio altimeter, VOR/ILS/GPS/WAAS navigation, Aural Warning Generator, and embedded Helicopter Terrain Avoidance Warning System (HTAWS).[14]

A variety of equipment can be equipped, dependent on operator choice and role; these include an external hoist, dual cargo hook, dual flight controls, baggage compartment extension, snow skis, windshield wipers, rotor brake, multi-band radios, active noise reduction headsets, soundproofing, oxygen systems, loud speakers, search lights, retractable landing light, emergency floatation equipment, reinforced windshield, wire strike protection system, rappelling kit, fire fighting belly tank, and a forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera.[14] Three fuel tanks, located behind the rear seats in the cabin, are installed as standard; up to two additional optional tanks can be fitted for a total of five, providing a flight endurance of nearly six hours.[8]

Operational history[edit]

Agusta A119 Koala at HeliRussia 2008

Since 2009, there have been reports that final assembly of the AW119 is to be transferred to India as a part of a measure to increase sales within that market.[20][21] In February 2010, it was announced that AgustaWestland and Tata Group were to form a joint venture to produce the AW119 in India; the first Indian-manufactured units were originally planned to commence deliveries in 2011.[22] In October 2015, following two years of deliberation, India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board approved a proposal to locally assemble the AW119Kx in Hyderabad, Telangana; the facility is to be operated by Indian Rotorcraft Ltd (IRL), the joint venture between AgustaWestland and Tata.[23][24]

In September 2014, AgustaWestland issued a legal challenge to a US Army decision to procure the Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota as a trainer without a competition, stating that both the AW119 and the AW109 had lower acquisition and operating costs; the challenge was dismissed in December 2014.[25][26] In early 2015, AgustaWestland and Bristow Helicopters jointly offered an upgraded variant of the AW119 as a replacement for US Navy’s existing fleet of 117 Bell TH-57 (based on the Bell 206) trainer helicopters under a fee-for-service contract; AgustaWestland and have claimed that over a four-year period the AW119 fleet could be introduced at an equal or lesser cost than the operating costs than continuing to operate the aging TH-57s.[27][28]

Reputation of safety[edit]

Since its introduction the AW119 Koala has developed a reputation as one of the safest helicopters in its class. Nicknamed "Volvo of light helicopters" by operators and technicians, it has proven a forgiving platform when exposed to extreme conditions and operational tempos. The AW119 incorporates a level of system redundancy unparalleled in its class; a few examples being: dual hydraulic pumps driven directly by its main rotor transmission on opposite sides, two separate stability augmentation systems, electronic engine control system coupled with a direct throttle control linkage to fuel metering unit and mechanical governor allowing for a MANUAL mode, two fuel tank boost pumps in addition to engine driven fuel pump, two heading GMU sensors, two independent VHF systems available, and primary and secondary GPS sources. A high-inertia rotor system coupled with a robust box structure and separated fuel bladder tank setup has contributed greatly to crash survivability.[29][30][31]


  • A119 - designation for the original production version
  • AW119 - designation for the A119 following the merger of Agusta and Westland Helicopters
    • AW119 Ke - improved version, featuring redesigned rotors, greater payload, and better fuel efficiency.[32]
    • AW119 KXe - successor to the Ke model, produced in Philadelphia, USA and Hyderabad, India.[24][33]


A119 of the Phoenix Police Department
 South Korea
An AW119 of Schenk Air


 United States


Helicopter with registration VT-NRK [48] crashed on takeoff on 10 June 2017 in Badrinath, Uttarakhand, India on its way to Haridwar.[49] An engineer died and both pilots suffered minor injuries. Five passengers were not injured.

Specifications (AW119Kx)[edit]

External video
AgustaWestland AW119Kx promotional video
Description of AW119Kx cockpit
Pellissier Helicopter AW119Kx operations

Data from AgustaWestland AW119Kx brochure[15]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1-2
  • Capacity: 6-7 passengers or 1,400 kg (3,086 lb) sling load
  • Length: 12.92 m (42 ft 5 in)
  • Height: 3.60 m (11 ft 10 in)
  • Empty weight: 1,483 kg (3,269 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 2,850 kg (6,283 lb)
  • Fuel capacity:
    3-cell fuel system 605 l (160 US gal)
    4-cell fuel system 711 l (188 US gal)
    5-cell fuel system 870 l (230 US gal)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B-37A turboshaft engine, 747 kW (1,002 hp)
  • Main rotor diameter: 10.83 m (35 ft 6 in)
  • Main rotor area: 92.1 m2 (991 sq ft)


  • Cruise speed: 244 km/h (152 mph; 132 kn)
  • Never exceed speed: 282 km/h (175 mph; 152 kn)
  • Range: 954 km (593 mi; 515 nmi)
  • Endurance: 5 h 20 min
  • Service ceiling: 4,572 m (15,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 9.1 m/s (1,790 ft/min)

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists



  1. ^ "Latvia orders additional helicopters for State Border Guard". Leonardo. 2 January 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  2. ^ Conklin & de Decker. "Leonardo AW119 Koala". Business Jet Traveller.
  3. ^ a b "The Agusta A-119 Koala". Retrieved 2007-05-20.
  4. ^ Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. p. 41.
  5. ^ a b Simpson, R. W. (1998). Airlife's Helicopters and Rotorcraft. Ramsbury: Airlife Publishing. p. 33.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Flug Revue". Archived from the original on 15 June 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
  7. ^ a b c Gualdoni, Damiano. "Damiano Gualdoni Aviation Enthusiast's Website". Archived from the original on 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2007-05-20.
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  16. ^ Gray 2000, p. 43.
  17. ^ Gray 2000, pp. 40-41.
  18. ^ a b Gray 2000, p. 41.
  19. ^ a b Gray 2000, p. 42.
  20. ^ Aviation Week & Space Technology, Volume 170, Issues 1-10. 2009. p. 95.
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  22. ^ Pustam, Anil R. "Rotor market strong on technology." Aviation Business, 17 June 2010.
  23. ^ "FIPB clears Tata-AW chopper facility proposal in Hyderabad." First Post, 14 October 2015.
  24. ^ a b Grevatt, Jon. "AgustaWestland's Indian joint venture finally approved by authorities." IHS Jane's Defence Industry, 7 October 2015.
  25. ^ Head, Elan. "AgustaWestland sues to block Army purchase of EC145 helicopters."[permanent dead link] Vertical, 23 September 2014.
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  27. ^ Trimble, Stephen. "AgustaWestland, Bristow offer AW119 to replace US Navy TH-57 fleet." Flight International, 15 April 2015.
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External links[edit]