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Leonardo Delivers 1,000th AW139 Helicopter – Multirole Champion

Issue 95

Leonardo recently delivered its1,000th AW139 helicopter. The event represents an historic achievement: the AW139 is the most important helicopter program in the last 15 years on an international level, and it is also able to set a production record in the Italian aviation industry’s outlook. The 1,000th machine of this model was delivered to Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (Customs police) during an official celebration which was held at Leonardo’s plant in Vergiate (Varese - Italy).

The AW139’s first flight dates back to the beginning of 2001. The helicopter boasts orders of over 1,100 units from more than 280 customers in over 70 countries on all continents. The aircraft has shown extraordinary levels of reliability and operational capabilities with almost 2.5 million flight hours recorded since the first delivery took place at the beginning of 2004. Data of use testifies to the extreme versatility of the AW139 which satisfies any market need: more than 30% for public utility tasks such as search and rescue and air ambulance, law enforcement, firefighting, disaster relief; over 30% for offshore transport; around 20% for military tasks; the rest account for VIP, institutional and corporate transport missions. Many of the AW139 missions are perfomed over-seas for medium to long rage operations, including SAR and maritime surveillance.

The AW139 has grown significantly in just a few years, adapting to the changing needs of customers. The maximum take-off weight increased from 6.4 to 7 tons. Almost 1,000 mission kits and equipment have been certified. With advanced protection systems against icing, the AW139 can fly in all weather conditions. This model is also the only one in the world capable of flying continually for over 60 minutes without oil in the transmission, twice as much as the 30 minutes set by the certification authorities. Despite the experience and maturity achieved in 15 years of operational activity, the AW139 remains a young and modern program which is destined to play a leading role well into the future. 

The AW139 fleet has a global presence: around 30% in Europe, almost as much in Asia and Australasia, 15% in the American continent, followed by the Middle East. The AW139, along with Leonardo’s other new generation models, has played a significant role in the evolution of the market. These aircraft have contributed to the company taking a 40% share of the world’s civil sector in terms of value as of 2018. 

The AW139 represents a turning point in the rotary-wing sector through the introductory concept of the Leonardo “helicopter family”. The AW139 is, in fact, the forefather of a helicopter family that is comprised of the smaller and lighter AW169 and the larger and heavier AW189 Models, the only case in the world, that share the same design philosophy, the same high performance, the same flight characteristics and the same certification standards, as well as the same approach to maintenance and training. A concept that allows operators with large diversified fleets, with models with weight ranging from 4 to 9 tons, to create significant synergies in crew training, flight operations, maintenance and logistics support.