11-Jan-2011 Source: AgustaWestland
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace are pleased to announce that Saitama Prefecture of Japan has placed an order for an AW139 medium twin helicopter. This aircraft will be operated by the Fire Fighting and Disaster Relief Department to perform fire fighting, emergency medical service, air rescue and transport missions. The helicopter will be assembled at AgustaWestlandâ€™s Philadelphia (USA) facility with delivery taking place in late 2011. The aircraft is expected to enter operational service in spring 2012.
The AW139 was chosen following a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process by the customer to ensure it could meet its demanding mission and safety requirements. The Saitama Prefectureâ€™s AW139 will feature a very comprehensive mission-dedicated fit Â including a â€œbelly tankâ€ fire fighting system, weather radar, nose camera, FLIR, video downlink, search light, cargo hook, rescue hoist, loudspeaker system and main rotor blade high visibility painting. Advanced avionics selected include an Enhanced Vision System (EVS), Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) and Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS). The AW139 offers superior safety levels in this role due to its class leading performance, outstanding one engine inoperative capabilities, system redundancy and high levels of crashworthiness.
This latest contract further strengthens the presence of the AW139 in the Japanese helicopter market where 22 have now been ordered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Japan Coast Guard, All Nippon Helicopter (NHK), Kansai TV, and Japan National Police Agency. This order marks the first AW139 sale in Japan for fire fighting and disaster relief duties. With orders for almost 500 units in around 50 countries from almost 140 customers, the AW139 is the best selling medium twin helicopter in the world. A number of leading fire fighting, EMS and disaster relief operators have chosen or are already operating the type for these tasks in several countries including the USA, Canada, Italy, Republic of Korea, China, Malaysia and Australia.
AgustaWestland’s success in the Japanese helicopter market continues to grow with strong sales in recent years across its complete product range. AgustaWestland opened a new regional business headquarters in Tokyo in 2008 in support of its growing business in Japan. The helicopter fleet in Japan is also supported by three official service centres which provide Â maintenance and repair services.