AgustaWestland has handed over the first AW139 medium-sized twin-engine helicopter to the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM).
The helicopter was delivered under a contract secured by the company in July 2013, and is scheduled to be primarily used in support of maritime border control missions.
A part of Malta's plan to strengthen the AFM's operational capabilities, the contract also included an option for two more aircraft, an integrated logistic support (ILS) package and training of ten pilots, including four students and 20 technicians.
The helicopter is equipped with an advanced maritime patrol and search and rescue (SAR) mission equipment package, including a high-definition forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system, search / weather radar, cabin mission console and a searchlight and satellite communication system.
Additional equipment includes a four-axis autopilot with SAR modes, naval transponder and external rescue hoist, as well as a four-bag floatation system.
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6C turboshaft engines, the AW139 is a 15-seat medium-sized twin-engine helicopter, designed to conduct law enforcement / emergency medical service, executive transport, and maritime and offshore oil operations in hot and high conditions.
The helicopter can fly at a speed of 165k, and features a low acoustic signature, integrated mission avionics and a full-ice protection system to complete missions in demanding environments.
In addition to Malta, the helicopter is also operated in Italy, Spain, Estonia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the UK and the US, among others.
The AFM placed an order for the second helicopter in April, with the delivery scheduled to take place in December.
Image: A Maltese AW139 twin-engine helicopter in flight. Photo: © 2012 AgustaWestland - A Finmeccanica Company.