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The Portuguese Air Force has taken delivery of its first two Leonardo AW119Kx multi-role single engine helicopters. The event was celebrated during an official ceremony held at Beja Air Base on Feb. 18 in the presence of dignitaries and representatives from the Portuguese Ministry of Defence (MoD), Air Force and Leonardo.
The additional three aircraft that are being assembled at Leonardo’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, facility — where all AW119s are built — will join the fleet with handover expected to be completed by early 2020.
The Portuguese Air Force’s AW119Kx helicopters will be used to perform a wide range of roles including training, medevac, troop transport and short-range maritime search-and-rescue (SAR), and may be used for firefighting.
The AW119Kx was selected following a thorough and rigorous assessment of competing models, demonstrating that Leonardo’s offer was the best suited to the stringent requirements set by the customer. The contract also includes options for two additional units.
The introduction of the AW119Kx marks a further reinforcement of the long standing partnership between Leonardo and the Portuguese MoD in the helicopter sector following the supply to the Air Force of AW101s for long-range SAR, utility, personnel recovery and fishery protection missions and of Super Lynx aircraft (including a Mid Life Upgrade) to the Portuguese Navy for maritime roles.
The AW119Kx will provide greater versatility and performance compared to the current fleet of aging single engine rotary-wing aircraft, as well as an outstanding training capability for military crews before moving to the AW101, Super Lynx and other frontline types.
The AW119Kx is a best-in-class single engine helicopter featuring an advanced avionics system for enhanced situational awareness, mission effectiveness and safety. The AW119Kx is provided with the largest cabin in its category, able to accommodate up to six passengers, and redundancy of all critical systems, typically available on multi-engine aircraft, ensuring outstanding safety and reliability.
Almost 320 AW119 helicopters have been ordered to date by nearly 130 customers in 40 countries, many of them for military and government roles.
The new AW119Kx is suited to perform many roles including government/military duties, training, utility, EMS, firefighting, law enforcement, VIP/corporate transport and offshore transport.
The TH-119 dedicated IFR variant is a candidate for the U.S. Navy TH-XX requirement.