AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce a number of new capabilities that will be introduced in the near future for the AW139 that will be of potential benefit to both current and future operators. These include enhanced navigation capabilities, the latest collision avoidance system, additional icing clearances and new helicopter deck clearances. AgustaWestland is working to certify a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) capability and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out system to enhance the navigational and surveillance capabilities of the AW139. SBAS provides extremely accurate position data that allows all phases of flight, including precision approaches, to be flown using GPS/GNSS signals. The system offers the potential of significant flying time and fuel savings. The AW139 SBAS navigation system is designed to be compatible with the WAAS, EGNOS and MSAS requirements. ADS-B enhances flight safety by making the aircraft visible in real time to air traffic control, and provides greater safety and operating efficiencies due to the ability of air traffic controllers being able to guide aircraft with smaller separation standards.
Development of Traffic Collision Avoidance System II (TCAS II) is now underway. TCAS II not only monitors the airspace around an aircraft for other aircraft equipped with a corresponding active transponder providing traffic advisories but also provides aural and visual resolution advisories to the pilot. AgustaWestland has also recently received UK Civil Aviation Authority approval for the safety case report allowing the AW139 to operate from 16 metre x 16 metre helicopter decks at weights up to the aircrafts maximum gross weight of 6,800 kg. AgustaWestland is also working on the approvals for a Limited Ice Protection System (LIPS) for the AW139 which will further expand market opportunities, in particular for operations in the North Sea. The system will include icing sensors, heated windshields and other icing protection measures. The system does not require the heated rotor blades and associated equipment of the Full Ice Protection System (FIPS) that is already in service on the AW139 for continuous operations in icing conditions.
Under a FAA STC AgustaWestland is developing the capability for up to 500 kg of cargo and four passengers or 1,000 kg of cargo to be carried in the passenger cabin. Production of the AW139 is to be increased from the 83 aircraft produced in 2010 to 100 aircraft in 2012 in order to meet market demand and to provide customers with reduced lead times. Production will be increased at both AgustaWestland’s Vergiate and Philadelphia facilities and later this year assembly will start in Russia under the HeliVert joint venture with Russian Helicopters to supply aircraft to the Russian and CIS markets. The AW139 is the benchmark helicopter and market leader in the medium twin category with more than 530 sold so far and 400 in service. The fleet has now logged over 500,000 flight hours with the fleet leader having flown over 7,000 hours.
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