AW139

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AIR FORCE MAGAZINE NEWS – 20 May 2019

Link to original online article by John A. TIRPAK / Air Force Magazine: http://airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/May%202019/Boeing-Gearing-Up-for-MH-139-Test-Models-Production.aspx

The first MH-139 for the Air Force—which replaces the UH-1N Huey in the roles of nuclear missile field support, VIP transport, and some other missions—is in production at Agusta-Westland facilities north of St. Louis, Mo., and if there are no hiccups, it will fly by the end of the year, Boeing officials reported. The Agusta-Westland facility, part of Boeing’s major subcontractor, Leonardo, will assemble the fuselage, put on the rotors, and essentially build a civilian version of the aircraft, Rick Lemaster, company director of vertical lift marketing, told reporters in a briefing at Boeing’s Philadelphia, Pa., helicopter factory on May 16. It is then handed over to Boeing, which militarizes it for the Air Force’s unique missions. Boeing will convert the vanilla aircraft into an MH-139 by changing the baggage door compartment to “allow some special equipment to be installed” that the Air Force declines to identify. Defensive aids, such as flare dispensers and missile warning systems will be added, as will the machine gun mount and a “crashworthy, self-sealing fuel tank,” Lemaster explained.  Additionally, ballistic protection will be added to the floor and cockpit. Once complete, the aircraft will receive USAF certification and fly off to their duty station. Lemaster said the Air Force will likely “turn on production in the next year or two, and once that happens the company anticipates to deliver about 10 aircraft per year into the early 2030s. The numbers may vary, as USAF’s contract allows for more or less aircraft each year. The MH-139 is a $2.38 billion firm, fixed-price contract program, of which $375 million gets the ball rolling with engineering and manufacturing development. Although the Air Force quoted a figure of $1.7 billion in savings when it announced Boeing had won the UH-1N replacement contest last fall, Boeing’s number is more conservative, Lemaster said. “We said we could save $1 billion, in terms of overall life cycle costs, or compared to competitors. That was our calculation, between support cost and acquisition.” The big discriminator between Boeing and its chief rival, the Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky Blackhawk, was the fact that the Air Force didn’t need a larger, combat-capable aircraft, he said. “This aircraft is relatively easy to maintain compared to competitors,” Lemaster said. The MH-139 is “not as big and heavy as a Blackhawk,” which he called “a great capability, great in combat, but that’s not what the Air Force requirement was.” Boeing’s approach was to offer an aircraft that is “right-sized for the mission,” Lemaster asserted. The first two aircraft are to be delivered in late 2020. They will then enter a test program, and if all goes well, operational testing will be in 2022, followed by full-rate production in 2023. The Air Force will buy at least 84 MH-139s. Armed versions with an M240 machine gun externally mounted on the starboard side will be fielded by three Air Force Global Strike Command bases, each with 11 aircraft to rapidly respond to threats at missile fields and provide other support for the ICBM mission. Some 30 aircraft will be based at JB Andrews, Md., for VIP transport. Four aircraft each will support VIP and aeromedical evacuation missions at Yokota AB, Japan, and the Air Force survival, evasion, resistance, and escape school at Fairchild AFB, Wash. The MH-139 “schoolhouse” at Kirtland AFB, N.M., will get the remainder, minus the two initial aircraft, which will stay at Eglin AFB, Fla., for ongoing test of modifications and software.
Lemaster said the AW-139, on which the MH-139 is based, is in service with 250 customers in 70 nations, and the fleet has accumulated more than two million flight hours, “So it’s a very mature product,” allowing Boeing to quote fixed-price support costs. The Air Force plans to fly the aircraft 480 hours per year, each. The highest-time version of the aircraft has just reached 12,000 flight hours, so it will be a long time before the Air Force will need to think about the MH-139’s replacement, Lemaster said.
“There is no airframe life limit, so there’s no requirement to take it back to a depot and do modifications,” he noted. Having succeeded in running over an hour with no transmission oil—a “run dry” test, Lemaster said, “It’s just a very survivable aircraft.” Additionally, the helicopter has been certified for one pilot under instrument flight rules, meaning the service could optionally relax its two-pilot requirement down the road, he said. For ease of maintainability, the engine and transmission are above the cabin, and built-in foot stands allow preflight inspections without putting a hardstand next to the aircraft, he said. There’s “one contiguous open space” in the cabin, offering flexibility of use. Although the engines don’t have infrared suppressors, the exhaust heat is fairly low, without intense hotspots that would make a good infrared target. Lemaster said he thinks the first batch of aircraft will be a run of eight, but “there’s a lot of flexibility in the way the contract is structured, so they can add or subtract the quantity. We’ve given them firm pricing for all of those iterations, and they’ll buy what they want.”

Link to original online article by Air Force Magazine: http://airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/May%202019/Boeing-Gearing-Up-for-MH-139-Test-Models-Production.aspx

ITALIAN ROTORS  
Leonardo Helicopters AW139 ( c/n no info ) MT81961 / GF-413.

Thanks to Tiziano CAPENTI for this image of the Leonardo Helicopters AW139 MT81961 / GF-413 operated by Guardia di Finanza. This is the first AW139 to wear new GdiF color scheme, pictured during test flights in Venegono (VA), May 2019.

ITALIAN ROTORS
AgustaWestland AW139 ( c/n 41510 ) I-HECO
BABCOCK PHOTO PAGE
AgustaWestland AW139 ( c/n 41510 ) I-HECO

Some new images just added to the AgustaWestland AW139 I-HECO data sheet page … here two samples related to “Horus 3” … operated on behalf of AREU Regione Lombardia – Elisoccorso Como. The first one, thanks to Gianluca GALLI, pictured while taking off from Cirimido (CO) in May 2019 and the second one, thanks to Marco BIANCHI, getting ready at Legnano Hospital Helipad in September 2018.

Vigili del Fuoco – Photo Page by www.dgualdo.it
Vigili del Fuoco AW139s Delivery Cerimony Photo Report – by Damiano GUALDONI

Leonardo: Italy’s National Fire Corps receives first two AW139 helicopters, the backbone of the Country’s rescue and emergency response services.

  • The helicopters will carry out search and medical rescue, firefighting and disaster relief with enhanced operational effectiveness from all national bases. The first AW139 of the National Fire Corps is now entering service.
  • Replacing the AB412 fleet in the next few years, the AW139 has also been chosen by the Italian Air Force, Guardia di Finanza, State Police, Coast Guard and many EMS operators
  • The new helicopters feature latest generation avionics and sensors and firefighting and rescue equipment for operations in all conditions

Rome, 18 April, 2019 – With the delivery of the first two AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopters, Leonardo and the Italian National Fire Corps (Vigili del Fuoco, part of the Ministry of the Interior) announced a major step forward in strengthening their collaboration delivering advanced, more effective emergency response services in Italy. The event, celebrated during an official ceremony held at Leonardo’s Vergiate facility today in the presence of Government representatives and local authorities. The introduction of the AW139 marks a major enhancement of airborne multirole capabilities with the world’s most modern helicopter for maritime and mountain Search and Rescue (SAR), medical rescue, firefighting and disaster relief duties.

Vigili del Fuoco AW139s Delivery Cerimony Photo Report – by Damiano GUALDONI

Over 816,000 rescues and sorties are performed every year countering fires across Europe, including many in Italy, and the AW139s, planned to progressively replace the Italian National Fire Corps AB412s which have been in service for decades, will guarantee optimimal coverage and an even more rapid responsiveness across the country. The Italian National Fire Corps will receive a third AW139 this year under the €45 million contract signed in 2018. The contract also includes integrated logistic support and training for pilots and technicians, and encompasses an option for 12 additional helicopters. The first two helicopters will be based in Rome Ciampino for National Fire Corps personnel training.

Vigili del Fuoco AW139s Delivery Cerimony Photo Report – by Damiano GUALDONI

The backbone of the Country’s rescue services, the AW139 is also in service with the Italy’s Guardia di Finanza, State Police, Coast Guard and Air Force. The National Fire Corps AW139s feature a wide range of mission equipment, including an external rescue hoist, cargo hook with bambi bucket provision, weather radar, multi-band and satellite communication systems, high definition Forward Looking Infra-Red / Low Light TV (FLIR/LLTV) system, Leonardo’s high definition mission console with digital recorder, high definition down link, Leonardo’s Optical Proximity LiDAR System (OPLS), Night Vision Goggle (NVG) capability, new generation Trakka searchlight, emergency floatation system and external life rafts, external loudspeaker, medical rack and bubble windows.

Vigili del Fuoco AW139s Delivery Cerimony Photo Report – by Damiano GUALDONI

HELI IMAGE OF THE DAY
AgustaWestland AW139 ( c/n 31119 ) I-COLK

Great image of the AgustaWestland AW139 I-COLK operated from Babcock Mission Critical Services Italia on behalf of HEMS 118 Regione Piemonte … resting on the rooftop helipad at Varese Hospital (VA), April 2019.

PRESS RELEASE – LANGKAWI, 27th March – Weststar Aviation Services, a leading regional offshore helicopter transportation services provider, and Leonardo signed a contract – valued at around 50 million euros – for three new-generation AW169 and two AW139 helicopters for offshore operations in West Africa and the Middle East.

The contract signing ceremony was held today at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) in the presence of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. The three AW169s helicopters will be for Weststar’s ExxonMobil & Noble contract in Equatorial Guinea while the two AW139s are for the Al-Khafji Joint Operations contract in Saudi Arabia, which is a joint venture between Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) and Aramco Gulf Operations. “This procurement further strengthens the partnership between Weststar Aviation Services and Leonardo and is a key factor in Weststar’s overseas business expansion. The AW169 and the AW139 twin-engine helicopters are the most successful new generation models in their class worldwide, and the most demanded helicopter types in the Oil and Gas industry. We are pleased to purchase yet more helicopters from Leonardo to support our offshore helicopter operations and we will use the newly purchased helicopters for our operations in West Africa and the Middle East.“ said Tan Sri Dr. Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, Group Managing Director of The Weststar Group.

Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said: “Weststar is one of our most important helicopter customers worldwide and we are happy to confirm our leading position in the offshore market in the region. There are now over 60 Leonardo helicopters in Malaysia, where we have our regional Customer Support and Training hub, and we plan to increase our presence even further in the future by expanding the services we offer.”

Since commencing its operations in 2003, Weststar Aviation Services has grown to become one of the global key players in the offshore helicopter industry. To date, Weststar Aviation Services operates a total of 33 AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopters out of its bases in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

The AW139 and AW169 are part of Leonardo’s Family of new generation helicopters that also includes the AW189. These models are ideal for passenger transport, EMS and SAR missions. Leonardo has a long-standing presence in Malaysia with a large fleet of helicopters – both commercial and military – defence, security and airport systems.

HEMS Regione Piemonte Photo Page
AgustaWestland AW139 ( c/n 31092 ) I-GREI

Thanks to Andrea CROSA for the new images of the AgustaWestland AW139 Airgreen I-GREI … operating on behalf of HEMS 118 Regione Piemonte, approaching Biella Hospital Helipad (BI), March 2019.

HEMS Regione Piemonte Photo Page
AgustaWestland AW139 ( c/n 31092 ) I-GREI

AgustaWestland AW139 Airgreen I-GREI … operating on behalf of HEMS 118 Regione Piemonte, resting at Alessandria Helipad (BI), March 2019.