Italian Air Force Introduces Special-Ops HH-101

By Staff Writer | August 1, 2015

Italy’s air force has begun the entry into service of its HH-101A “Caesar” special operations helicopter.

Service leaders introduced dignitaries and the media to the Caesar in ceremonies June 19 at Cervia Air Force Base, about 40 miles south of Venice.

AgustaWestland customized the Caesar, which is based on its AW101, to air force specifications for a multi-mission, medium-lift platform. Delivered to the 15th Wing based at Cervia, the HH-101A will provide air support for special operations and conduct personnel recovery and search and rescue missions.


Air force officials said the helicopter also will be used to intercept slow-moving aircraft. Fitted for an air-to-air refueling kit, it also may be deployed abroad to support operations beyond Italy’s borders.

The HH-101A is designed to carry as many as five crewmembers and 20 fully equipped troops, or six crewmembers and eight special forces troops. It has M134 7.62 mm miniguns installed on right and left sides and on the rear ramp; armored cockpit seats; ballistic protection for machine gun operators and critical systems; and an integrated electronic warfare system for protection against radar, laser and infrared threats.

The 15th Wing’s 81st Search and Rescue Training Center operates AW139s and AgustaWestland-built Sikorsky HH-3Fs. Its 641st Communication Flight flies NH-500Es (license-built MD500 Defenders).

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