Spanning law enforcement, emergency medical services (EMS), regionally coordinated search-and-rescue, and other critical missions that keep the public safe and secure–it’s clear that utility missions are diverse. The one thing they have in common?
Demanding requirements for an aircraft that can support them all.
Utility and parapublic operators often find themselves needing an aircraft with an open cabin able to be reconfigured from personnel transport to accommodate a stretcher. Patients and passengers benefit from an ability to keep all systems running, without the rotors turning. And they need expanded external visibility to pay close attention to the mission at hand.
Following first deliveries in late 2015, expansions and developments continue to be made to the platform that can better position the aircraft, and Leonardo Helicopters, to meet operators’ ever-changing requirements.
This fall, Leonardo is exhibiting the flexibility and growth of the AW169 at exhibitions around the world, in addition to continuing to highlight the strength of the AW139, AW189, and soon to be certified AW109 Trekker and AW609 TiltRotor.
The strength of the AW169 in global security and law enforcement operations is evident following recent announcements and selection of the platform by regional authorities around the world.
The Argentina National Gendarmerie law enforcement unit can expect its AW169 to begin supporting surveillance, rescue and personnel transport later this year.
The Gendarmerie will operate an AW169 that features a night vision goggle (NVG) compatible cockpit, cabin roof hooks and wire strike equipment, and includes provisions for a cargo hook, external loudspeakers, rescue hoist, search light, fast roping and rappelling systems, and forward looking infrared (FLIR).
This will allow the Gendarmerie to expand the scope of its missions in the future, as and when required.
More recently, the Norwegian National Police Directorate chose the AW169 as its aviation organization undergoes a modernization effort–with the multi-mission capabilities of the aircraft playing a key role in its decision.
The contract for three aircraft and options for an additional three more will enable the Norwegian Police to enhance their capabilities and readiness to counter various threats such as terrorism and other crimes.
The helicopters will deliver greater range than those currently in service and increase rapid response over shorter ranges from other bases when necessary.
The success of the AW169 would not be possible but for the support and training provided to global operators. With entry into service in the United States, Brazil, and Argentina in 2017, this year will also see the addition of the obstacle proximity laser imaging detection and ranging (LiDAR) warning system as another milestone in the program’s development. Full ice protection systems will make the AW169 the first light aircraft with true all-weather capabilities for operations in known icing conditions.
This training and support has helped propel the AW169 into new and untapped mission segments, such as flying in support of the development of the world’s largest offshore windfarm, in the North Sea, delivering new capabilities for harbor pilot shuttle duties in Norway and bringing relief, when needed, from fires and natural disasters in Asia.
When the only constant is change, the AW169 platform–and the support that makes it a success–is a unique asset for operational awareness, command, rescue and transport. The recent escalation in deliveries, and projections for further sales, are allowing the type to fly high in support of public safety and security.