The first of ten Italian Air Force HH-139A helicopters has entered operational service.
March 9: AgustaWestland has announced that the first of ten Italian Air Force HH-139A medium twin engine helicopters has entered operational service.
A ceremony was held at Cervia Air Base on March 8 to mark this achievement. These helicopters will supplement ageing HH-212 and HH-3F helicopters in the role of search and rescue operations across the nation. The remaining HH-139As will be delivered by the end of this year and are the first examples of the AW139M dedicated military variant to enter service with an armed force.
Bruno Spagnolini, Chief Executive Officer, AgustaWestland, said “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate the operational readiness of this new aircraft, 20 years after the last helicopter was delivered to the Italian Air Force. This significant event is the first major step in support of the service’s modernization programme which will also see the HH-101 ‘CAESAR’ replacing the HH-3F Pelicans in the Combat SAR role. The HH-139A will complement the HH-101s whilst providing a leap forward in operational capabilities and cost effectiveness compared to the present fleet of HH-3Fs and HH-212s.”
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.