First AW139 Helicopter Delivered to Irish Air Corps
11 Aug 2006
The first of four AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters for the Irish Air Corps was handed over to the Irish Air Corps at Vergiate in Italy yesterday. This handover also marks the first delivery of an AW139 to a military customer.
Flying training of Air Corps pilots will now start and will continue until late October, when the second helicopter will be handed over.The AW139 helicopters for the Irish Air Corps are equipped with a range of role equipment including AM/FM tactical radios, a Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) camera with a fifth cockpit LCD mission display. In the cabin the aircraft can be quickly reconfigured from the troop transport role with ten crashworthy troop seats to the medical evacuation role with air ambulance equipment plus seats for attendants. Additional role equipment includes abseiling and fast rope systems as well as a dual machine gun installation.
The AW139 was selected by the Irish Department of Defence in December 2004, after a full evaluation of the aircraft against several competitors. Soon after, a contract was signed for four aircraft plus two options. The Irish Air Corps will use the aircraft for a range of duties including transport of special operation units of the Defence Forces, air ambulance, overland search and rescue and VIP transport.