Finmeccanica - AgustaWestland has completed the 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 aircraft in Pratica di Mare close to Rome, two helicopters in Reggio Calabria and one each in Bari, Palermo and Fenosu.
Designated 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 completion of deliveries marks a major milestone to enhance the rotorcraft capabilities of the Italian Police. Close cooperation between the customer and the company lead to the development of a dedicated mission configuration and a comprehensive range of support and training services. Over 1500 flight hours have been logged by the fleet so far and training has been provided to approximately 50 aircrew and 70 maintenance technicians.
The AW139 was chosen by the customer after a comprehensive evaluation process of competing bids, proving the AW139 to be the best value solution to meet its demanding mission and safety requirements. 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.
The AW139 is the world’s best-selling helicopter in its class and the only new generation aircraft in its weight category in service today. The AW139 benefits from a range of modern, constantly enhanced and tailored support and training capabilities, designed to deliver outstanding mission effectiveness and safety standards whatever the mission, leveraging on the expanding network of AgustaWestland service and training centres worldwide.
Over 800 orders 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.