Three new Italian Coast Guard AW139 ready for operations
Today, Finmeccanica - AgustaWestland delivered three further AW139s to the Italian Coast Guard. The AW139, an intermediate twin-turbine helicopter, is considered the benchmark aircraft in its category worldwide for Search and Rescue (SAR) missions and other public utility roles.
The delivery ceremony was attended by Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Graziano Delrio, Chief of Italian Coast Guard, Felicio Angrisano and company senior management. The event represented a major milestone in the modernization of the Italian Coast Guard’s helicopter fleet and in the strengthening of its maritime patrol and search and rescue (SAR) capabilities.
Moreover, the Italian Minister was able to witness first-hand the company’s industrial capabilities and its worldwide technological leadership in the helicopter sector.
The gradual upgrading of the Italian Coast Guard’s fleet, with the delivery of the first batch of AW139s having started in 2010, enables a more effective performance of maritime patrol, search and rescue (SAR), and emergency medical service missions, covering more than 500,000 sq km (from Ventimiglia to Trieste): for instance, the rescue operations of the Norman Atlantic ferry, in December 2014, was one of the vastest SAR joint missions ever carried out on the Mediterranean Sea, which occurred in harsh weather and mission conditions.
Furthermore, the Italian Coast Guard recently ordered two more units of this same aircraft, including a comprehensive package of support services, thereby bringing its fleet to a total of ten AW139s, with options for four additional helicopters.
The fleet expansion with modern AW139s as a replacement of the prior AB412s, will enable the Italian Coast Guard to meet future operational commitments with ever greater effectiveness and versatility.