AgustaWestland is introducing an enhanced Koala, the AW119 Ke light single, as an evolution of the A119 Koala introduced in 1995 and certified in 2000.
The Ke (for Koala enhanced) does indeed include some impressive upgrades, starting with an increase in max takeoff weight from 5,997 to 6,283 pounds. It retains the A119’s engine–the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B-37A–remains the same, but its main rotor blades feature improved aerodynamic design and greater use of composites, along with higher rotor rpm, providing the additional lift capacity and better hot-and-high performance at high gross weights.
The rotor blades, said a spokesman, are similar to those of the Agusta 109 Power. The landing gear has also been beefed-up to accommodate the higher weights. According to AgustaWestland, all the upgrades in the Ke can be incorporated into A119 Koalas already in service with operators.
The A119 Ke will move into production at the company’s Philadelphia assembly plant as the last several dozen A119s are completed. The Ke is priced “slightly higher” than its predecessor, whose base price in 2006 was $1.95 million ($2005).