Leonardo has delivered the first twin-turbine HH-139b transport helicopter to reinforce the combat, emergency and internal security capabilities of the 15th Stormo (wing) of the AMI (Aeronautica Militare Italiana). This first aircraft, a variant of the AW139 tailored to the requirements of the AMI, flew from Leonardo’s Vergiate plant on November 1st to one of the 15 Stormo bases in Cervia next to the city of Ravenna (northeast Italy).
From this base, the unit covers the central SAR (Search and Recue) sector of the center of the Italian Republic. The rest of the units will ship next year, although some could arrive in 2022, according to AMI. The experience of the 15 Stormo with the previous HH-139A will be crucial for the rapid commissioning of these aircraft, which will be distributed among the various aircraft, SAR settlements of this unit are located next to Cervia, Decimomannu (Sardinia), Trapani (Sicily) , Gioia del Colle and Pratica di Mare.
The presence of the helicopters of the first version in the AMI has become a classic of multinational training courses in Combat SAR or CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue), as can be seen from the TLP (Tactical Leadership Leadership) courses. Program). Leonardo’s powerful helicopter also offers other functions such as conventional SAR, forest fire fighting, air interceptors against slow aircraft and even VIP government transport.
Compared to the HH-139A, the new version increases the maximum take-off weight from 6,800 to 7,000 tons and contains new electro-optical sensors, a new radar, an external rescue crane and a mission console in the cockpit. The passenger / cargo cabin can be quickly reconfigured for operations such as SAR, fire fighting, MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation), etc.
The avionics and sensors with which she can fly at any time have been modernized with a new software version (phase 8) that includes the ship identification system AIS (Automatic Identification System), a transponder and the advanced detection system OPLS (Obstacle Proximity LIDAR System), which supports the Measures the distance between the aircraft and orographic obstacles with a laser. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, AW139s are being used extensively in Italy to provide transportation services to biocontainment facilities. (Julio Maz Sanz)
Photo: AMI’s first Leonardo HH-139B helicopter. (Photo Leonardo)
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