HH-139A enters service with Italian Air Force
AgustaWestland has announced that the first HH-139A medium twin engine helicopter has entered operational service with the Italian Air Force. This is the first of ten HH-139A that will be delivered to the force by the end of 2012.
The HH-139A will supplement the Italian Air Force’s ageing HH-212 and HH-3F helicopters in the role of search and rescue operations across the nation as part of the service’s modernisation programme which will also see the HH-101 Caesar replacing the HH-3F Pelicans in the Combat SAR role. This is the first example of the AW139M dedicated military variant to be delivered.
According to AgustaWestland, the HH-139A has been selected as an interim solution for the Italian Air Force’s SAR fleet replacement and modernisation programme. The all new AW149, now under development, has been designed to meet a potential Italian Air Force requirement for a new medium class SAR helicopter with certification expected in 2013.
The Italian Air Force’s HH-139A features an all new heavy duty landing gear providing higher ground clearance and improved crashworthiness, secure communications suite including IFF and an integrated defensive aids suite. The aircraft is also equipped with the following role equipment - rescue hoist, search light, wire cutters, nose mounted FLIR, cargo hook, loudspeaker system and emergency floatation gear.
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