the course of last year, the world’s bestselling AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopter has been growing stronger in Australasia among military operators. New users in Australia and Malaysia have helped expand the already impressive presence of the type for a range of roles in the respective countries. This confirms the whole region as one of the most important for the model (comprising of around 30 percent of the entire world fleet).

As recent examples, the AW139 has proven the new multirole military aircraft of choice to meet key requirements in Malaysia. Following the introduction in service by Bomba (medevac, disaster relief, fire-fighting), MMEA (maritime patrol and SAR), Police (law enforcement), the AW139 has more recently drawn the attention of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).  The RMAF will induct up to four units, leased from Weststar Aviation Services Sdn. Bhd, mainly for utility transport. The transition to the new model for the operator has been fast with the support of Leonardo Malaysia and leveraging the capability to locally train a large number of pilots and crews (through PWN) in just a few months. The RMN’s AW139 maritime utility helicopters instead feature dedicated sensors and equipment, including light weapon systems, and will be stationed in Kota Kinabalu. They can carry out a range of missions including, among others, SAR, medevac, utility, and anti-piracy. Deliveries were performed fast and well ahead of schedule. The AW139s add to the RMN’s Super Lynx 300 naval specialised helicopters.

With its best in class performance, cabin space, latest technology and safety standard and true multirole capabilities performing missions in all-weather and environmental conditions globally, the AW139 is the most successful helicopter programme in the last nearly 20 years with more than 1,200 units on order, over 280 users in more than 70 countries. Half of the operators belong to the widest spectrum of military and law enforcement/public service agencies worldwide. Among key operators, the Italian Air Force’s fleet of over 30 units features dedicated variants designated HH-139A, HH-139B and VH-139A with customised mission equipment and able to perform a wide spectrum of missions covering Search and Rescue over land and sea, slow mover interceptor, firefighting, government transport. Furthermore, the US Air Force (USAF) will use the AW139-based Boeing MH-139 to replace the UH-1N fleet.

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