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Italy’s National Fire Corps receives first two AW-139 helicopters

The aircraft will carry out search and medical rescue, firefighting and disaster relief - TECHNICAL SHEET

With the delivery of the first two AW-139 intermediate twin engine helicopters, Leonardo and the Italian National Fire Corps (Vigili del Fuoco, part of the Ministry of the Interior) announced a major step forward in strengthening their collaboration delivering advanced, more effective emergency response services in Italy. The event, celebrated during an official ceremony held at Leonardo’s Vergiate (Varese) facility today in the presence of Government representatives and local authorities. The introduction of the AW-139 marks a major enhancement of airborne multirole capabilities with this helicopter for maritime and mountain Search and Rescue (SAR), medical rescue, firefighting and disaster relief duties.

Over 816,000 rescues and sorties are performed every year countering fires across Europe, including many in Italy, and the AW-139s, planned to progressively replace the Italian National Fire Corps AB-412s which have been in service for decades, will guarantee optimimal coverage and an even more rapid responsiveness across the country. The Italian National Fire Corps will receive a third AW-139 this year under the €45 million contract signed in 2018. The agreement also includes integrated logistic support and training for pilots and technicians, and encompasses an option for 12 additional helicopters. The first two aircraft will be based in Rome-Ciampino for National Fire Corpos personnel training.

The backbone of the Country’s rescue services, the AW-139 is also in service with the Italy’s Guardia di Finanza, State Police, Coast Guard and Air Force. The National Fire Corps AW-139s feature a wide range of mission equipment, including an external rescue hoist, cargo hook with bambi bucket provision, weather radar, multi-band and satellite communication systems, high definition Forward Looking Infra-Red / Low Light TV (FLIR/LLTV) system, Leonardo’s high definition mission console with digital recorder, high definition down link, Leonardo’s Optical Proximity LiDAR System (OPLS), Night Vision Goggle (NVG) capability, new generation Trakka searchlight, emergency floatation system and external life rafts, external loudspeaker, medical rack and bubble windows.

The various Italian Government agencies operating the model are able to benefit from shared logistics, training and support systems. This latest selection by the Italian National Fire Corps brings the total number of AW-139s chosen by all of these Italian Government operators to 56, 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. In Italy the model has also proven the helicopter of choice for many emergency medical service (EMS) operators. A number of law enforcement, maritime/border patrol and security agencies from countries around the world, including Italy, the UK, USA, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Sweden, Spain, Estonia, The Netherlands, Brazil, and UAE, have selected or are already operating the AW-139 to fulfil their requirements. Over 270 customers from around 70 Nations have already ordered over 1100 units, more than 950 of which are in service.

The technical sheet of the helicopter is attached to this AVIONEWS

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency