A-129 International (p)
|This page is about the premium Italian attack helicopter A-129 International (p). For other versions, see AW129 (Family).|
After the creation of the A129 Mangusta, Agusta would develop a new variant known as the A-129 International which would incorporate a lot of improvements to better suit export consumer needs. Of these improvements included a new engine, advanced armaments, and new avionics. Although it garnered interest from many nations, it wouldn't be picked up by any of them and thus what was learned from the International program would be applied on the A129 Mangusta upgrade known as the A129CBT for the Italian army.
Introduced in Update 1.93 "Shark Attack", the A129 International has potent armament in the form of Hellfire anti-tank guided missiles and Hydra unguided rockets. It also has a .50 cal turret which can be used against other enemy aircraft or open top/unarmoured ground targets. The A-129 International is very manoeuvrable thanks to the stronger engines, it is able to reach its top speed quickly and has a great surface ceiling. Protection-wise, this variant of the International does not get access to flares or chaff, which can be a problem when enemy aircraft spot you. This helicopter also does not have access to anti-air missiles. That said, if there are no enemy aircraft or SPAA around, the International can be highly effective in the right hands.
The A-129 International is a fast, manoeuvrable helicopter. It is lightweight and it has good acceleration. It can perform a lot of manoeuvres faster than other contemporary helicopters and reaches top speed without having to wait much. The A-129 yaws greatly, without suffering the main rotor influence that many other helicopters must deal with.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 1,000 m)
| Max altitude|
Survivability and armour
The A-129 is lightweight but it hasn't got great armour or survivability. The only armoured parts are the crew compartments, protected by 40 mm bulletproof glass in the front, and 20 mm of composite armour (kevlar boron carbide) below and in the rear. .50 cal hits (from the front) usually don't deal much damage, but anything with a superior calibre will. The helicopter rarely resists SPAA hits without getting critically damaged, but it can happen. All SAMs with a proximity fuse will one-shot or critically damage your controls.
Modifications and economy
|CCIP (Guns)||CCIP (Rockets)||CCIP (Bombs)|
The A-129 International (p) is armed with:
- A choice between two presets:
- 1 x 12.7 mm FN M3M machine gun, chin turret (750 rpg)
- 1 x 12.7 mm FN M3M machine gun + IRCM
The A-129 International (p) can be outfitted with the following ordnance presets:
- Without load
- 76 x Hydra-70 M247 rockets
- 2 x 12.7 mm FN M3P machine guns (250 rpg = 500 total)
- 2 x 12.7 mm FN M3P machine guns + 6 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets
- 2 x 12.7 mm FN M3P machine guns + 38 x Hydra-70 M247 rockets
- 2 x 12.7 mm FN M3P machine guns + 38 x Hydra-70 M247 rockets + 6 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets
- 8 x BGM-71D TOW-2 missiles
- 8 x AGM-114B Hellfire missiles
- 2 x 12.7 mm FN M3P machine guns + 8 x BGM-71D TOW-2 missiles
- 2 x 12.7 mm FN M3P machine guns + 8 x AGM-114B Hellfire missiles
- 2 x 12.7 mm FN M3P machine guns + 6 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets + 8 x BGM-71D TOW-2 missiles
- 2 x 12.7 mm FN M3P machine guns + 6 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets + 8 x AGM-114B Hellfire missiles
- 1 x 12.7 mm FN M3P machine gun + 3 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets + 19 x Hydra-70 M247 rockets + 8 x BGM-71D TOW-2 missiles
- 1 x 12.7 mm FN M3P machine gun + 3 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets + 19 x Hydra-70 M247 rockets + 8 x AGM-114B Hellfire missiles
- 38 x Hydra-70 M247 rockets + 8 x BGM-71D TOW-2 missiles
- 38 x Hydra-70 M247 rockets + 8 x AGM-114B Hellfire missiles
Custom loadout options
|12.7 mm FN M3P machine guns (250 rpg)||1*||1*|
|FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets||3*||3*|
|Hydra-70 M247 rockets||7, 19||7, 19||7, 19||7, 19|
|AGM-114B Hellfire missiles||2, 4||2, 4|
|BGM-71C Improved TOW missiles||2, 4||2, 4|
|BGM-71D TOW-2 missiles||2, 4||2, 4|
|* FFAR rockets can only be carried concurrently with FN M3P gunpods on the same hardpoint|
Usage in battles
As all helicopters (excluding Ka-50s), you should have a safe playstyle, ensuring that there aren't any SPAAs on the ground and other helicopters/jets in the sky since you haven't got any anti-aircraft missiles. The main advice is to stay at ground level to evade SPAAs' radars and keep looking for the enemy air spawns with the great thermal sight (and great zoom) you have installed on the chopper. The main way to protect yourself from helicopters is to wait for them to hover and using your ATGMs to take them out, but remember, farther you are, worse the accuracy of your missile will be. When you will be attacking ground vehicles, you should stay closer than 6,000 meters to the target in open maps, 4,000 meters in maps with few natural obstacles, like Ash River and 3,000/2,000 meters in maps with a lot of objects that occlude your view, for example, Berlin or Port Novorossiysk.
You will usually meet the ADATS, the Ka-50, radar SPAAs and supersonic jets. For the first vehicle, as said before, stay low and use your radar warning receiver on your low right corner. Act in the most unpredictable way, for example, if you brought Hydras, you could try to get as close as you can and strike (you have enough of them to have an ensured kill). In the case of the Ka-50s, that usually hover in the middle of the air or near obstacles, you should try to get as close as you can to strike with ATGMs, there is no other "long-range" counter. And for supersonic jets, well, you can only pray for an allied SPAA to take 'em down.
As a first spawn, the A-129 International can be devastatingly effective or next to useless. On open maps, it is not recommended taking it as a first spawn as you will be lit up by the entirety of the enemy team (unless you flank behind their spawn, but by then the enemy would be spread out across the map) and if any enemy took any SPAAs to the battle first, then good luck trying to survive that. On urban maps, like Advance to the Rhine, Port Novorossiysk, and Alaska, the A-129 works way better as not every enemy can see you and you can plan a good attack route with the help of your thermal vision devices.
As a mid to late game spawn, the Hellfire missiles are very effective at destroying ground units. As for the TOW missiles, they can work, but you must be at a very closer range if you want to destroy any ground targets with them, and being closer to the battlefield with such a ranged advantage with the Hellfire isn't ideal. Combined with Hydras and/or machineguns you can either land and rearm for more missiles or go in guns blazing with the remaining Hydras/Machineguns stowed after taking out a couple of tanks with the Hellfires. (This is usually a late game strategy, and it is pretty effective and very fun!). It works well during late game because cleaning up an active area is always useful and it usually ensures victory.
Overall, the A-129 International is a very capable helicopter. It has great agility, with a good acceleration rate and a great turning ability. It is ever so capable when it comes to taking out the enemy ground units, as with the wide selection of armaments, there are many potent and fun ways to blow up some tanks. As for air targets, it's best to let allied SPAA and/or aircraft/helicopters deal with them for you, although sight stabilisation combined with the machinegun can help you defend against enemy aircraft in a pinch. The Hellfires are very good at taking out the enemy ground targets and combined with Hydras, they can really deal some damage.
Pros and cons
- Has great agility and manoeuvrability and a good acceleration rate
- Wide selection of ground attack armaments, AGM-114B Hellfires and Hydra-70 unguided rockets are especially worth noting
- Can be hard to spot in dark maps (provided enemies do not have thermal vision)
- Thermal equipment makes it easier to spot targets
- 12.7 mm FN M3P turret machine gun can be effective against approaching air targets combined with rockets
- Ballistic computer greatly improves rocket and machine gun accuracy
- Radar warning receiver (RWR) and IRCM devices are available
- Absence of air-to-air missiles somewhat limits its anti-air capability
- The helicopter is fragile and is unable to take hits unlike some of its counterparts
- 12.7 mm turret machine gun can only damage light ground units in any major capacity
- 12.7 mm turret machine gun, with its low rate of fire and low muzzle velocity, is not suited for use against enemy aerial vehicles - most jets and helicopters are resistant to 12.7 mm bullets
The history of the Agusta A129 International began during the late stages of the Cold War. Once the first versions of the A129 Mangusta entered service with the Italian armed forces, they were well-liked by the users, and Agusta was able to generate a lot of interest for this type of helicopter. Although some nations were interested in the base version of the A129, nothing really came out of it so Agusta developed a newer version of the A129 Mangusta in line with export market specifications and needs. This new version of the A129 would go under the designation A129 "International", likely named that way to attract customers.
The A129 International was designed to meet a wide variety of missions under all-weather conditions, day or night. These ranged from armed scout and reconnaissance to high-intensity air-to-ground and air-to-air capability. One of the many great qualities of this variant according to Agusta employees was that the A129 International would be much more than just a regular light antitank helicopter, it would also be the most cost-effective combat rotorcraft in its class. This was clearly a defining factor as unlike nations such as the US, Italy would market its military vehicles to nations that might not have a big budget to spend on their militaries. That said, it also meant regular militaries could buy more units of the aircraft if needed which would be able to do the same things as other vehicles of the era, such as the AH-64 Apache, at a much lower cost. The A129 International would prove this by beginning to integrate many different weapon systems that at the time, were some of the best in their class. Weapon systems such as Hellfire and TOW ATGMs came standard with the helicopter, however what was more interesting was the integration of air-to-air missiles, such as the Stinger or Mistral.
During the development of the International, the aircraft would undergo several variations on usually the same airframe, each version integrating different armaments. Some other changes also included different types of thermal imaging sights, a .50 cal turret, an enclosed triple .50 cal turret, or what is now staple of the A129CBT, the 20 mm M197 three-barrel Gatling-type rotary cannon. All International variants had access to the LHTEC T800 engine, which was an improvement from the base variant of the Mangusta. It allowed the International to have a higher top speed and overall output to reach its surface ceiling quicker than the base variant.
The model in-game is a proposed variant which was envisioned to mount the Lucas 12.7 mm turret, it doesn't seem like it was ever actually made in this configuration however.
Sadly no nation would ultimately be interested in actually buying such an aircraft, so the International was then brought back to Italy, and was no longer offered to any countries. (Around a decade later, the Turkish government would make the T-129 with the help of Italy, a modified A-129 for the Turkish armed forces). What was used from the A129 International however would be re-used for a special upgrade to the Italian A129s, which brought them to the "CBT" or "Combat" standard. The CBTs would incorporate the majority of the new advancements from the International into the Italian army Mangustas, with only minor differences such as opting for a Rolls Royce engine instead of the LHTEC one.
The A129 Mangusta helicopter is the first attack helicopter to be fully designed and manufactured in Western Europe. The composite materials are widely used in the construction of the fuselage with tandem crew placement, which improved its survivability. For the first time, a computerized control system was installed on this helicopter, giving operational control by the crew. The premium modification A129 International prototype is a prototype, developed in the 90s and with improved armament, in comparison to the original version of the helicopter. The armament of this model consists of a 12.7 mm machine gun mounted on a chin turret, and also various combinations of additional ordnance, including up to 8 ATGMs TOW-2 or AGM-114B Hellfire, up to 76 unguided rockets and two 12.7 mm gunpods.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the helicopter;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|Attack||AB 205 A-1* · A.109EOA-2 · A-129 International (p) · A129CBT · T129**|
|See Also||Bell Aircraft Corporation · TAI|
|*Licensed · **Partnership with TAI|
|Utility||AB 205 A-1 · A.109EOA-2|
|Attack||A-129 International (p) · A129CBT · T129|