AGUSTAWESTLAND HAS delivered a further three AW139 intermediate twin helicopters to the Italian Coast Guard as part of its modernisation programme. Announcing the milestone yesterday, July 6, the manufacturer said that a contract has also been signed for a further two AW139s, plus options on four more. 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 contract includes a comprehensive support and training package. This latest order will increase the Italian Coast Guard’s AW139 fleet to ten units, with options for a further four helicopters.
The AW139s will be used to perform a range of missions including maritime patrol, search and rescue (SAR), and emergency medical services. 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 manufacturer saying that the AW139 proved to be the best solution to meet the Italian Coast Guard’s stringent requirements.
Delivery of the first batch of Italian Coast Guard AW139s began 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. Alan Warnes