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Leonardo has announced new signed contracts for five additional AW139 helicopters to the Italian National Fire Corps (Vigili del Fuoco, part of Ministry of the Interior), including integrated logistic support and training for crews and technicians.
The orders, valued at over €75 million (US$83 million), add to the previously purchased three units, with two already delivered this year. The five new helicopters are expected to be delivered in June 2020.
The Italian National Fire Corps intends to progressively replace the decades-old AB412 helicopters and to guarantee optimal coverage and increased responsiveness across the country. Indeed, the introduction of the AW139 marks a major enhancement of airborne multirole capabilities with a modern helicopter for maritime and mountain search-and-rescue (SAR), medical rescue, firefighting and disaster relief duties.
The fleet modernization program includes an option for seven additional helicopters which could be added to the eight already ordered.
Over 816,000 rescues and sorties are performed every year countering fires across Europe, including many in Italy.
The Italian National Fire Corps AW139 helicopters 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 downlink; Leonardo’s Optical Proximity LiDAR System (OPLS); night vision goggle (NVG) capability; new generation Trakka searchlight; emergency flotation system and external life rafts; external loudspeaker; medical rack; and bubble windows.
The aircraft also feature an advanced four-axis autopilot perfectly suited for SAR operations, including over the sea.