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AgustaWestland AW139

The AgustaWestland AW139 is a 15-seat medium sized twin-engined helicopter manufactured by AgustaWestland. Originally designed and developed jointly by Agusta and Bell Helicopters and marketed as the Agusta-Bell AB139, it was redesignated the AW139 when Bell withdrew from the project.

The AW139 has become one of AgustaWestland's most influential products; it has been subsiquently developed into two enlarged medium-lift helicopters, the military-orientated AW149 and the AW189 for the civil market.

Contents


Design and development

Origins

In 1997, the Italian helicopter manufacturer Agusta launched a programme to develop a replacement for the Bell Huey family of helicopters, which had been built in very large numbers both by Bell and Agusta, with a potential market of 900 aircraft being predicted. In 1998, Bell and Agusta entered into an agreement, setting up a joint venture, Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company (BAAC) to develop both the Italian helicopter and a tiltrotor aircraft, which became the Bell/Agusta AB139 and Bell/Agusta BA609 respectively.[1]

The first orders were placed by Bristow Helicopters on 26 September 2000. The first AW139 flew on 3 February 2001 at Vergiate in Italy,[2][3] and the first production aircraft on 24 June 2002.[4] The first customer aircraft was delivered in 2003.

Type overview

The AB139 is a conventional layout twin-engined transport helicopter. It has a five-bladed fully articulated main rotor with a titanium hub and composite blades and a four-bladed tail rotor. It is fitted with a retractable tricycle landing gear. It is flown by a crew of two pilots, with up to 15 passengers accommodated in three rows of five. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6C turboshaft engines.[5] The helicopter is being marketed for use in a number of roles including Law Enforcement/Emergency Medical Service, Executive Transport, Search and Rescue, Maritime and Offshore Oil Operations.

Further development

The AW139 was evaluated as a contender in the U.S. Army's Light Utility Helicopter Program, the rival [Eurocopter EC145]] was selected instead. At the Farnborough Air Show in 2006, AgustaWestland announced the AW149 as a multi-role battlefield helicopter variant of the AW139. The company has orders for over 430 helicopters, of which over 200 had been delivered by January 2009.

In late 2006, it was announced that the Japan Coast Guard had selected the AW139 as the replacement for its fleet of Bell 212 helicopters; 24 AW139s are expected to be delivered, beginning in 2008. The Irish Air Corps began taking delivery of its first AW139s in 2007. The type will replaced the Aerospatiale Alouette III in the army support and basic transport roles.

In 2007, a second production line at the AgustaWestland Aerospace plant in Philadelphia, United States was established. By 2011, AgustaWestland was producing 90 AW139s a year, the helicopter had also directly produced 9.5% of the company's overall revenue in 2010.[6]

In June 2010, it was announced that Agusta and Rosvertol (Russian Helicopters) would build a plant in Tomilino, Moscow Region, jointly producing AW139s from late 2011.[7]

Variants

AB139
Original Italian-built production aircraft, 54 built.[8]
AW139
Designation change from 55th aircraft onwards, built in Italy and the United States.[8]
AW139 (long nose configuration)
Long nose variant with increased room for avionics built in both Italy and the United States.[8]
AW139M
Military variant.[9]
HH-139A
Italian air force designation for ten search-and rescue configured AW139Ms.[10]

Notable accidents and incidents

  • 3 June 2008, ADA, A6-BBB Abu Dhabi Aviation, UAE. CFIT.
  • 25 August 2009, Gulf Helicopters, A7-GHC Doha, Qatar. Tail boom failure on ground.
  • 2010 Spanish Maritime Safety Agency AW139 crash: On 21 January 2010, Spanish Maritime Safety Agency AW-139SAR (registration EC-KYR), crashed into the sea close to Almeria. 3 people died.[11]
  • 3 July 2010, B-MHJ Hong Kong, ditched into Hong Kong harbour after technical problems.
  • 23 February 2011, South Korean Coast Guard AW139 went missing off the southern island of Jeju. 5 people died.[12][13]
  • 2 May 2011, Gulf Helicopters, Doha, Qatar, Tail rotor failure on ground.
  • 30 June 2011, Kuala Lumpur, Weststar Aviation AW139 made a hard landing.
  • 17 August 2011, Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau AW139 aircraft went missing into a reservoir in a northern suburb of Beijing (China), with five people aboard.Two confirmed fatalities, two missing.
  • August 2011, a Petrobras-chartered AW139 helicopter crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all four people on board the aircraft.

Operators

Military operators

An AW139 air ambulance bearing the insignia and colours of the Ambulance Service of New South WalesAW139 on display at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2006Coast Guard]] AW139 Irish Air Corps AW139 HM Coastguard]] AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter. Ornge AW139 air ambulance in Ontario LAFD Fire 5, lifts off at Van Nuys Airport

  • Cyprus National Guard - The Cyprus Air Force operates 3 AW139 for the CSAR role
  • Irish Air Corps- Operate 6 AW139s
  • Italian Air Force - 10 HH-139As on order, first was delivered in early 2012.[10]
  • Italian Army - First AW139M delivered in February 2012.
  • Lebanese Army - The Lebanese Air Force operates one executive AW139 given as a gift by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa to be used by the Lebanese president General Michel Suleiman.[14]
  • Qatar Emiri Air Force (18 on Order)
  • Trinidad & Tobago Air Guard (TTAG)  Ordered 4: 2 received May 2011. Other 2 expected delivery from 2011/2012
  • UAE Air Force

Government operators

  • civil protection (5 sur commande)
  • Ambulance Service of New South Wales (3 - Wollongong and Bankstown)
  • Government of Queensland - 3 AW139 ordered for delivery beginning in 2007 for EMQ Helicopter Rescue (Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns)[15]
  • Federal Police - 1 AW139 on order [16]
  • Bulgarian Border Police Air Unit 1 AW139
  • Chinese People's Armed Police Force - 2 AW139 with 1 in Beijing [17] and 1 in Zhenjiang [18]
  • Cyprus Police - Cyprus Police operates 2 AW139 for the security of external borders, fighting illegal immigration and other crime.
  • Estonian Border Guard- Operate 3 AW139s
  • Corps of the Port Captaincies - Coast Guard (4 ordered, 3 in service by November 2010)
  • Guardia di Finanza - 2 AW139 (1 in 2009 and 1 in 2011)[19]
  • Japan Coast Guard - 24 AW139 scheduled to start delivery in 2008, 11 AW139 delivered by 2012
  • Police - 3 AW139 Tokyo Ohosaka Chiba purchased by Japan National Police Agency
  • Helitack - 2 AW139 Saitama Hiroshima
  • Korea Coast Guard -3 AW139 (delivered 2009)[20]
  • Sociedad de Salvamento y Seguridad Mar tima 9 delivered - 1 crashed
  • Her Majesty's Coastguard
  • New Jersey State Police
  • Los Angeles City Fire Department
  • Maryland State Police[22]
  • United States Customs and Border Protection

Civilian operators

An AW139, operated by All Nippon Helicopter for news gathering of NHK, descending for landing. The bottom of AW139, operated by Aero Asahi Corporation for news gathering of Kansai Telecasting Corporation. An AW139, operated by INAER.

  • CHC Helicopter - 25 AW139 with more on order[23]
  • Ornge (Ontario Air Ambulance), Ontario, Canada (10 on order for 2010-12 delivery)[24]
  • Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS), Alberta, Canada (2 on order for 2011 delivery)
//
  • Sky Shuttle Helicopters - 6 provide scheduled passenger service between Hong Kong, Macau and China.
  • Bel Air Aviation operate three AW139 for offshore work in the North Sea and the Gulf of Finland.[25]
  • Petroleum Air Services
  • Copterline, replacing Sikorsky S-76s.
  • Aero Asahi Corporation - 1 AW139 for news gathering of Kansai Telecasting Corporation
  • All Nippon Helicopter - 2 AW139 for news gathering of NHK
  • CHC Netherlands
  • Dutch Aviation Police
  • Lufttransport
  • Heliportugal operates AW139[27]
  • Gulf Helicopters - Offshore transport use.
  • Saudi Aramco - 14 used for offshore and medical use.[28]
  • Helic pteros del Sureste
  • Abu Dhabi Aviation
  • CHC Scotia, on behalf of HM Coastguard
  • Bond Offshore Helicopters - Offshore transport use.

Specifications AW139 (long nose)

See also

References

  • Jackson, Paul. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003 2004. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Defence Data, 2003. ISBN 0-7106-2537-5.
  • Niccoli, Riccardo. "The Bell Agusta AB 139". Air International, September 2001, Vol 61 No 3. ISSN 0306-5634. pp. 158 163.

External links

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