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A 129 Mangusta
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The A 129 Mangusta, produced by Agusta, was originally planed in the mid 1970's. At the time it was to be based on an Agusta civil helicopter design. However, by the time the A 129 Mangusta entered production, it was an entirely new design.
During the development of the A 129 Mangusta, major delays and revisions were encountered with its weapons systems. This was compounded by budget issues that took time to resolve before funding could be found to enable further development.
The A 129 Mangusta is Europe's first dedicated attack helicopter. It can operate day and night, in virtually any weather.
The helicopter has a loiter time over target of about 1 1/2 hours. It has armor to protect its crew and vital parts from up to 22 mm rounds. It is equipped with a 20 mm Gatling gun and can carry a wide variety of missiles and rockets.
The dual redundant computerized system of the A 129 Mangusta provides for data management including missions, targeting, engine, and flight controls. Helmet mounted displays present data from infa-red sensors during night operations, permitting accurate use of weapons systems.
Similar to other attack helicopters the crew has tandem seating. The pilot sits in a high position, aft of the co-pilot gunner, in an all-glass cockpit. The crew seats are armored for additional protection. Controls are fly-by-wire.
To reduce the forward radar signature of the A 129 Mangusta, its width has been kept to a minimum. Linkages to the rotor blades are housed within the driveshaft. All engine components are designed to operate for at least 1/2 hour without lubrication. The engines are placed at either side of the fuselage so that one can keep running if the other is disabled.
A total of 60 A 129 Mangusta helicopters have been produced to date.