Italian Army A109 went to history

On 14 October 2021, Agusta A109CM MM81240/E.I.863 (construction number 7374) of the Aviazione dell’Esercito Italiano (AvEs, Italian Army Aviation) made a last flight of the type within the AvEs, which was withdrawn from service after 45 years of service.

With a short hub from Viterbo towards the 1° Reggimento Sostegno Aviazione dell'Esercito Idra (1st AvEs Support Regiment) in Bracciano near Rome, the A109 is to be subjected to the technical-administrative procedures for out of service.

The A109 Hirundo was developed and manufactured in the 1970s by the Italian company Agusta as a light twin-turbine helicopter, with retractable landing gear, fast and equipped with effective stabilisation and safety systems. It was the first all-Italian helicopter to be mass-produced.

The first AvEs A109 was MM81010/E.I.851 (c/n 7114), which arrived in 1977 at Viterbo in the Lazio region near Rome, a base hosting the training and development units of the AvEs. It was quickly followed by MM81011/E.I.852 (c/n 7112) and MM81012/E.I.853 (c/n 7124).

These first three A109s were called A109EC (Ellicotteri di Collegamento, Liasion). Two other examples, MM81013/E.I.854 (c/n 7116) and MM81014/E.I.855 (c/n 7118) were fitted with TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) American anti-tank missile equipment to evaluate the anti-tank performance of the helicopter, and to develop techniques, in order to facilitate the entry into service with the AvEs.

In 1987, after a successful evaluation period, the AvEs ordered another 24 helicopters in the A109CM version with fixed gear, and no longer retractable. There were two configurations: the first simplified A109 EOA-1 (Elicotteri da Osservazione Avanzata, Observation) in sixteen units and eight in the full EOA-2 configuration for reconnaissance and utility, entered service starting from 1988.

The Agusta A109 Hirundo was not only used by the AvEs, but was also aquired by the Italian Polizia di Stato (Police), Carabinieri (Military Police), Guardia di Finanza (Customs) and the Civil Protection Department, who have used the A109 in different configurations and for different missions. In 1996 the legacy of the A109A was taken over by the A109E Power, which began a new success story.

Photo by Varani Ennio via

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