AN ADDITIONAL AW139 has joined the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) Air Wing, supplementing two already in service. The new helicopter, AS1630 (c/n 31625, ex I-PTFT), was delivered on September 22.
As previously reported within AirForces Monthly, an order for the AFM’s first AW139, which also included options on two more, had been announced on July 19, 2013. The first helicopter was then delivered to Malta on June 14, 2014, following which it was formally inaugurated into service on August 6 that year. AgustaWestland confirmed on April 10, 2014, that the first of the two options had been converted into a firm order. It was then delivered to Malta on December 18, 2014. Malta’s Home Affairs Minister, Carmelo Abela, had announced on July 6 last year that a contract had been signed for the third helicopter the previous week, converting the final option held on the original deal into a firm order.
The AW139s are used to perform maritime patrol, border control and search and rescue missions. Their equipment package includes a high-definition FLIR system, search/weather radar, naval transponder, searchlight, cabin mission console, satellite communications system, four-axis autopilot with SAR mode, external rescue hoist and four-bag flotation system.