|Guardia Costiera photo|
August 4, 2016 - Leonardo-Finmeccanica announced today an order for additional two AW139 intermediate twin helicopters by the Italian Coast Guard. This latest contract will increase the customer’s fleet of AW139s to twelve. 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 options for a further two helicopters.
The AW139 was selected by the customer following a European Tender launched in August 2014 for a second batch acquisition. The main contract was awarded in 2010 with the AW139 proving to be the best solution to meet the Italian Coast Guard’s stringent requirements. Delivery of the first batch of AW139s to the Italian Coast Guard started in 2010 and since entering service they have proved extremely successful, performing operations around the Italian coast line and in its maritime economic exclusive zone.
The Italian Coast Guard’s AW139s feature a wide range of mission 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, mission console with high definitions displays, 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 cabin doors.
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 41, 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.