Leonardo announced that Bristow Group 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.