Italian Coast Guard Expands Its AW139 Helicopter Fleet
- Three more units delivered and contract signed for two more aircraft
- The contract awarded following European Tender, includes support and training package.
- Latest order will increase the Italian Coast GuardaEUR(tm)s AW139 fleet to ten units, with options for a further four helicopters.
- Aircraft to perform maritime patrol, search and rescue and emergency medical service missions.
Finmeccanica-AgustaWestland announced today a major milestone in the modernization of the Italian Coast Guard’s helicopter fleet, with the delivery of three further AW139 intermediate twin aircraft and an order for two more aircraft. The delivery ceremony was attended by Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Graziano Delrio; Chief of Italian Coast Guard, Felicio Angrisano and AgustaWestland senior management.
The AW139s will be used to perform a range of missions including maritime patrol, search and rescue (SAR), and emergency medical services. The latest order also includes a comprehensive support and training package and options for four additional helicopters.
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The AW139 was selected by the customer following a European Tender launched in August 2014. The main contract was awarded at the end of 2014 with the AW139 proving to be the best solution to meet the Italian Coast Guard’s stringent requirements.
Delivery of the first batch of Italian Coast Guard’s AW139s started in 2010 and since entering service they have proved extremely successful, performing operations along the Italian coast line and in its maritime economic exclusive zone.
The Italian Coast Guard’s AW139s feature a wide range of SAR equipment including an external rescue hoist, cargo hook, wire strike protection system, search/weather radar, marine band and satellite communication systems, high definition Forward Looking Infra-Red / Low Light TV (FLIR/LLTV) system, high definition mission console, Optical Proximity LiDAR System (OPLS), full Night Vision Goggle (NVG) capability, new generation Trakka searchlight, emergency floatation system and external life rafts. The AW139 design incorporates a large spacious cabin for the crew, equipment and survivors accessed by two large sliding doors.
Powerful engines and class leading performance and safety, make it the aircraft of choice for SAR in its weight class. Excellent one engine inoperative capability ensures the aircraft can safely accomplish the most demanding rescue missions. The cockpit features the latest technology including fully integrated avionics, a 4-axis digital Automatic Flight Control System with dedicated SAR modes and large flat panel colour displays - reducing pilot workload and allowing the crew to concentrate on the rescue.
The AW139 has also been selected by and is in service with the Italian State Police, Guardia di Finanza (Customs and Border protection) and the Italian Air Force. The various Italian Government agencies operating the AW139 are able to benefit from shared logistics, training and support systems.
This latest contract signed by the Italian Coast Guard brings the total number of AW139s chosen by all of these Italian government operators to 37, covering a wide scope of public utility roles including law enforcement and homeland security, patrol, special operations, search and rescue, command and control, government/VVIP transport, disaster relief and training.
Many maritime, border patrol and security agencies from countries around the world, including Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the UK, USA, Sweden, Spain, Estonia, UAE, to name a few have selected or are already operating the AW139 to fulfil their requirements.
Approximately 900 orders have been placed by more than 220 customers from nearly 70 nations to date with more than 730 units already in service, making it the benchmark helicopter in its category for a wide range of roles including EMS/SAR, maritime patrol, law enforcement, fire fighting, offshore transport, VIP/corporate transport and other government duties.
Source : AgustaWestland, A Finmeccanica Company (Milan: FNC.MI)