The first of two AgustaWestland AW189s for Search and Rescue work off the Falkland Islands has started test flying in full colours, as seen below in this photo by Marco Bianchi. The aircraft will be operational under a new ten year contract starting April 2016. When AAR announced the contract win, the value was quoted as approximately $275 million (£180 million). The photos show an infra-red turret under the nose, searchlight mounted to port and a double hoist to starboard. There also appears to be a belly-mounted long-range fuel tank.
The two AW189s will be operated under contract by AAR, who will sub-contract the operation to British International Helicopters. Lobo Leasing is providing the finance. The aircraft are serial numbers 89003 and 89004, and will operate on the British Register under the following two registrations
The HeliHub.com team, who pride themselves in tracking individual airframes to source news items, are not yet aware of the registration/msn tie-up, should any reader be wondering.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
© Copyright 2015 Marco Bianchi – and used here with his express permission