Agusta Westland AW109

The AgustaWestland AW109, originally the Agusta A109 is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter built by the Italian manufacturer Leonardo S.p.A. (formerly AgustaWestland, merged into the new Finmeccanica since 2016). It was the first all-Italian helicopter to be mass-produced.[2]

Developed as the A109 by Agusta, it originally entered service in 1976 and has since been used in various roles, including light transport, medevac, search-and-rescue, and military roles. The AW109 has been in continuous production for 40 years.

In the 1990s, the US Coast Guard, seeking to tackle drug trafficking on small speed boats via armed aerial interdiction helicopters, evaluated several options and selected the AW109 as the winner. For a number of years, eight armed AW109s, designated MH-68A Sting Ray, were leased from AgustaWestland and deployed at Coast Guard land facilities and onboard cutters. Positive experience with the AW109 led to the Coast Guard deciding to arm all of its helicopters and, following adaptions of their existing assets, the AW109s were returned after the lease expired.