First SAR AW139 arrives in Sweden

First SAR AW139 arrives in Sweden

13-Sep-2013 Source: Nordic Rotors

Tuesday evening saw the first of the Swedish Maritime Administration’s seven new AgustaWestland AW139s arrived in Sweden. The helicopter, registered SE-JRH and nicknamed “SAR Force One”, landed at Skavsta Airport in Nyköping at 19:00 local time, after a flight from AgustaWestland’s Vergiate plant near Milan, Italy.

The Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA), or Sjöfartsverket in Swedish, is responsible for air- and sea rescue coverage in Sweden, and the helicopter branch is an important part of that organization. In October last year SMA placed an order for seven brand new AW139 SAR helicopters from the Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland SpA. The procurement is made in order to provide an increased capacity and capability in rescue operations, and to ensure a vigorous organization for many years to come.

“We’ve been working on this for several years now, and it feels great to be able to improve our capacity without increasing the total cost of operations. Now we can continue to work to improve the rescue operations further and get even better at saving lives”, says Noomi Eriksson, Director of Naval and air rescue operations at SMA.

The seven new helicopters will be delivered in 2013 and 2014, and they will eventually replace the current fleet of Sikorsky S-76C+/C++ helicopters gradually. The Sikorsky helicopters were incorporated in the Swedish SAR system between 2002 and 2007, and they are covering all of Sweden through five duty stations – Ronneby, Visby, Gothenburg, Norrtälje and Umeå. The units are in alert around the clock all year and ready to commence an action within 15 minutes after an emergency call. The first AW139 will be stationed at a temporary base in Nyköping, where a development- and fielding team will evaluate the new aircraft before the AW139s get operational at their permanent SAR stations.

“This is the start of a new era for the Swedish air- and sea rescue service. What distinguishes this type of helicopter from the model we have today is that this is cutting edge in everything from system design and safety to autopilot and instrumentation. It is faster, goes further, takes more load and has an improved performance on in pretty much all aspects”, says Capt. Michael Åkerlund, head of the development team.

Reproduced from Nordic Rotors with permission. Copyright and full responsibility for the content of this article remains with Nordic Rotors

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