Availability, operational flexibility, capacity and large cabin, high performance, long range and endurance, reliability, safety, all weather/harsh environmental conditions operational capabilities, effective and state-of-the-art search/rescue/medical/communications equipment. These are just few among the very demanding and ever increasing requirements a modern SAR/maritime patrol helicopter must be able to meet. The AW139 does so, thanks to its leading edge SAR and Coast Guard-minded design carried out by both relying upon all-new technology and proven solutions as well as taking advantage of long experienced search and rescue customers and operators’ activities and needs. With orders for over 680 units by more than 180 customers from almost 60 countries worldwide in ten years to perform a wide range of roles and around 550 already in service, half of sales have practically been obtained across the wide scope of rescue, border and maritime patrolling, medevac as well as homeland security duties successfully accomplishing the mission in the largest variety of operational environments. Nations adopting the best selling AW139 6.4/6.8 ton helicopter for these tasks, many of which very often carried out by multirole, easily and quickly reconfigurable aircraft, also include Italy, the UK, the USA, Japan, China, Malaysia, UAE, Qatar, Ireland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Oman, Canada, South Korea, Australia and Azerbaijan to name a few.
One of the latest selection for the type was made by the Swedish Maritime Administration which signed a contract for seven aircraft in November 2012. The first helicopter is scheduled to be delivered in the spring of 2013 and the final one in 2014. These AW139s will be operated from five different bases across Sweden leveraging on its all-weather and long range capabilities, already appreciated by other customers in the Northern Europe region such as the Estonia Border Guard and various offshore transport players. The AW139 delivers best-in-class performance with a maximum cruise speed of 165 knots (306 kph), a range in excess of 500 nm (927 km) and superior hover performance. With its power reserve, the AW139 delivers Category “A” (Class 1) performance from a helipad (elevated or at ground level) at maximum take-off weight which also makes it a safe helicopter whilst performing demanding SAR missions. The Swedish Maritime Administration’s AW139s will also be equipped with the unique Full Ice Protection Syst m (FIPS) allowing flights into known icing conditions and enabling all weather operations, when other types would be confined to the hangar.
With the largest cabin in its class the AW139 delivers abundant working space and maximum mission flexibility to support cabin FLIR station operation, medical treatment and casualty evacuation requirements. Large sliding doors on each side of the aircraft provide clear access to the 8 m3 (283 ft3) cabin for survivors and equipment. The cabin can host up to 15 passengers or up to four litters plus medical attendants and EMS/SAR equipment for rescue roles. An additional baggage compartment space that is accessible from inside or outside the helicopter and allows SAR equipment to be stowed, keeping the main cabin clear.
The AW139’s design is optimised for easy and rapid maintenance with reduced number of parts, easy access to critical systems, extended component lifecycle, exclusive HUMS (Health and Usage Monitoring System) as well as comprehensive training services also including advanced Level D Full Flight Simulators.