Roma 09 February 2015
With the entry into service in late December of the last of the eight units ordered by the Italian State Police, the AW139 once again has confirmed itself as the world best selling helicopter in its class. Since the arrival of the first aircraft in mid-2013, all helicopters are operating in the five bases of destination and, to date, have logged more than 1,500 hours of service.
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 contract, signed in July 2012, is partially funded by the European Union's Frontex, the agency that manages the cooperation between national border guards to secure the external borders of the union.
A total of 31 AW139s are on order or in service with Italian Government operators such as Italian Coast Guard, Guardia di Finanza (Customs and Border protection) and the Italian Air Force. The eight AW139s currently in with the Italian Police are operating in five different bases: three aircraft are stationed at Pratica di Mare, two helicopters are in Reggio Calabria and one each in Bari, Palermo and Fenosu.
With orders for around 800 units from more than 220 customers in over 60 countries, the AW139 is a point of reference for the roles of offshore transport in support of the oil and gas industry, as well as being considered optimal for a wide range of missions including search and rescue, homeland security, military transport and VIP / passenger transport. In fact, there are many countries that have decided to adopt the AW139 to equip law enforcement agencies and organizations dedicated to border security: the United States, Japan, Oman, Brazil, Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Malaysia, UAE, China and Chile.