AgustaWestland announced on February 5 that it completed delivery of the Italian Police’s AW139 intermediate twin helicopters at the end of December 2014. Deliveries started in mid-2013 and now eight aircraft are in service at five different bases in central and southern Italy comprising three in Pratica di Mare close to Rome, two in Reggio Calabria and one each in Bari, Palermo and Fenosu.
Designated the UH-139C, the Italian Police’s AW139 configuration includes a high definition latest generation FLIR, satellite communication system, searchlight, rescue hoist, cabin mission console and a high definition video down link.
The company says that completion of deliveries marks a major milestone to enhance the rotorcraft capabilities of the Italian Police. Close co-operation between the customer and the company led to the development of a dedicated mission configuration and a comprehensive range of support and training services. Over 1,500 flight hours have been logged by the fleet so far and training has been provided for approximately 50 aircrew and 70 maintenance technicians.
The AW139 was chosen by the customer after a comprehensive evaluation process of competing bids. The replacement of old helicopter models with AW139s, partially funded by the European Union Frontex programme, supports the fleet modernization plans of the Italian Police and will benefit the communities they serve by increasing overall security.
A total of 31 AW139s have been ordered by Italian government operators covering a wide range 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. The AW139 has been selected by and is in service with the Italian Coast Guard, 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.
Over 800 orders for the type have been placed by more than 220 customers from over 60 nations to date with more than 700 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, executive/private transport and other government duties. A growing number of law enforcement and border security agencies have selected and operate the AW139 in many other countries such as the USA, Japan, Oman, Brazil, The Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, UAE, China and Chile. Alan Warnes