18-Jun-2015 Source: HeliHub.com
Italy’s Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard) are in the process of expanding their fleet of AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters, replacing older Agusta-built Bell 412s. Two AW139s were delivered recently and Robert Swan from Freelance Aerospace Writers alerted us to the pair test flying from Sarzana using callsigns “Nemo 5” and “Nemo 6”. Four more are due, two later this year and two in the first half of 2016.
Guardia Costiera previously had four AW139s, delivered late 2010 and early 2011, and the type is known internally as “Nemo” – hence the callsigns. The existing four are allocated with two at the base at Sarzana and two at Catania/Fontanarossa on the island of Sicily, and with the six new aircraft will bring the AW139 fleet to ten.
GC acquired four AB412SPs in the mid 1990s and six higher-powered AB412HPs in the late 90s with the improved main rotor transmission which gives it better “hot and high” performance. Of this batch of 10, one was withdrawn from use after an accident in October 2001 near Grosseto, and a further three have been withdrawn and gradually reduced as spares requirements on the active aircraft dictate.
The remaining six 412s are expected to be withdrawn from service and replaced by the new six AW139s.
The two recently delivered examples are
John Burcote – HeliHub.com