Daegu Fire Department in South Korea is shortly to take delivery of a brand-new Leonardo AW169 to strengthen its aerial capacity. The aircraft, serial number 69101, the 101st to be built, is currently undergoing test-flying at Varese-Venegono in Italy with the test marks I-RAIM. It will be registered as HL9649 when it is delivered.
Daegu, formerly known as Taegu, is the fourth-largest city in South Korea with a population of more than 2.5 million. Daegu Fire Department operates from eight locations around the metropolitan area but currently only has one helicopter at its disposal, Eurocopter AS350 B2 Écureuil HL9185 delivered in December 2007. It is anticipated that the AW169 will complement the AS350 in the fleet.
The twin-turbine, 5-tonne, 10-seat AW169 has found favour with operators worldwide in a range of roles since entering service in 2015. It is equipped with a full glass cockpit and four-axis autopilot. The type is widely employed in air ambulance and police roles, but this example will be only the second to be used in the fire-fighting role anywhere in the world, the first being JA35AR, serial number 69080, delivered to Yamaguchi Prefecture Fire-Fighting and Disaster Relief Agency in Japan in May of this year. Standard equipment for the fire-fighting role includes bambi basket, rescue hoist and searchlight.
Three other AW169s are already in service in South Korea, operated by Heli Korea.
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