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All posts for the month December, 2022

PRESS RELEASE – Rome,  07 December 2022 10:10

  • These six AW139s will join an existing fleet of nine AW189s, with deliveries between 2023 and 2024
  • The contract supporting the new U.K. Search and Rescue programme provides further evidence of the outstanding capabilities of the world-class AW139 
  • Approximately one third of the AW139 global fleet performs daily life-saving missions in all conditions  

Leonardo announced today that Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: VTOL) has signed a contract to procure six AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopters to support the Second-Generation Search and Rescue Aviation (“UKSAR2G”) programme by the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Aircraft’s deliveries are expected to start in 2023 and to be completed in 2024, joining an existing fleet of nine AW189 super medium twin engine SAR helicopters as part of the UKSAR2G programme. 

These latest AW139s will feature the very latest in product enhancement, technology and mission capability for the task including a 7-ton MTOW (Maximum Take-Off Weight), Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics Phase 8, an advanced Synthetic Vision System (SVS), improved 2D maps and wireless data loading, which will deliver even greater all-weather capabilities and mission effectiveness. Furthermore, these AW139s will also feature a Limited Ice Protection System (LIPS) to deliver even greater mission capability in demanding weather conditions. This new fleet of AW139 SAR helicopters for the UKSAR2G requirement will benefit from the new Leonardo-Bristow long-term global service programme. The aircraft will also undergo a mission system integration to be carried out by Bristow in partnership with Nova Systems after their delivery, ensuring an even greater involvement of UK-based industry. 

Gian Piero Cutillo, MD Leonardo Helicopters, said: “This latest step supporting our key partner Bristow to meet major users’ needs is further testament to the outstanding capabilities of our best-selling AW139 as the aircraft of choice in its category for SAR among prime operators and countries. It perfectly complements the medium to long range SAR capabilities of the AW189 delivering unparalleled combined capabilities for the task. We’re proud to continue to provide our contribution to the MCA partnership with this type, its technology and support solutions will benefit the served communities in UK.” 

Leonardo and Bristow have been partners for over 26 years with Bristow using a range of types including the AW119 single engine, AW109 light twin, AW139 intermediate twin and AW189 super medium. Bristow’s fleet of Leonardo helicopters will account for nearly 100 units with the arrival of these additional six AW139s. Bristow’s Leonardo helicopters have successfully accomplished missions such as offshore transport supporting the energy industry, SAR, and emergency medical service throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Australasia.

With more than 1,100 units in service with over 280 customers in around 90 nations and over 3.3 million flight hours logged to date since its certification in 2004, the AW139 has also proven extremely successful for rescue and emergency missions. Almost 400 aircraft, covering military, parapublic and civil operators, carry out emergency and disaster relief operations worldwide and have amassed more than 900,000 flight hours to date. A unique combination of best in class performance and cabin space, latest safety and certification standards (even exceeded in some cases), advanced navigation and mission avionics/technology and impressive versatility and high customisation levels (with over 1000 kits certified for all applications) have strongly contributed to this life-saving mission capability of the AW139. 

PRESS RELEASE – Zürich, 5 December 2022

The Swiss Air-Rescue Service Rega has ordered a second batch of 12 five-bladed H145 helicopters to be operated from its mountain bases.

They will replace the current fleet of AW109SP helicopters. This new order follows an initial contract for nine H145s, announced in March this year. By 2026, Rega will operate an all-Airbus fleet consisting of 21 five-bladed H145s.

“To effectively operate life-saving air rescue services in Switzerland, we understand that the ability to perform optimally at altitude is paramount,” says Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “The five-bladed H145 landed on the Aconcagua in Chile, a mountain that is nearly 7,000 metres high – no other twin engine helicopter has ever achieved this feat. That is why we are especially proud that Rega has put its faith in the five-bladed H145 and decided to make it the only helicopter type in its fleet to perform such critical missions.”

“By selecting the five-bladed H145, we are ensuring that Rega will continue being able to provide its patients with reliable and professional medical assistance by air for the next 15 years,” says Ernst Kohler, CEO of Rega.

The five-bladed H145s will come equipped with a state-of-the-art navigation system, especially tailored to the operator’s needs that will enhance the mission capabilities and the safety of operations. The system will use new capabilities of the Flight Management System GTN750 Xi by Garmin. It will integrate and control a multi-sensor system that provides highly accurate and reliable navigation capacities. Even in the event of GPS signal loss, the helicopter will navigate safely thanks to Thales’ inertial navigation system. This solution will further boost the navigation performance in low IFR conditions and allows the helicopter to be certified as navigation procedure RNP-AR 0.1, which is the most accurate navigation procedure in the helicopter environment. The configuration also includes a new hoist by Vincorion that is being certified on the five-bladed H145, ensuring highest safety standards.

Rega operates 14 HEMS stations in Switzerland. Last year, the helicopter crews carried out 14,330 missions, including transporting 471 COVID patients.

The new version of Airbus’ best-selling H145 light twin-engine helicopter adds a new, innovative five-bladed rotor to the multi-mission aircraft, increasing the useful load of the helicopter by 150kg. The simplicity of the new bearingless main rotor design also eases maintenance operations, further improving the benchmark serviceability and reliability of the H145, while improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew.

In total, there are more than 1,600 H145 family helicopters in service, logging a total of more than seven million flight hours. Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145 the quietest helicopter in its class, while its CO2 emissions are the lowest amongst its competitors.