26-Mar-2020 Source: Leonardo
“The Italian Air Force’s Leonardo HH-101A Caesar helicopter, assembled in Yeovil, Somerset, is being pressed into civil action for pandemic-response transportation operations in Italy as the country manages the impact of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The Italian Minister of Defence, Lorenzo Guerini, has made the AW101 variant available to Italian civil authorities during this emergency.
The Caesar helicopters are operated by crews coming from the 9th Squadron, based in Grazzanise Air Base (Central-South Italy) and the 15th Squadron, in Cervia Air Base (Northern Italy), and together with a specialised Air Force medical team are tasked to transport patients affected by Covid-19 in hospitals or medical institutions. It is the first time that the air force has conducted this type of operation with the helicopter. In line with specific aeromedical procedures to conduct bio-containment transportation missions – the helicopter is equipped with an Aircraft Transit Isolator and a special insulated stretcher which is designed for bio-containment air transportation of highly infectious patients.
The aircraft is able to perform many different types of missions, including: search and rescue, personnel recovery, special operations and the interception of slow flying aircraft. The Leonardo AW101 16-tonne helicopter and is manufactured in Vergiate, Italy and Yeovil, England. It combines the most advanced technologies, mission systems and manufacturing expertise with its proven aircraft design. It has the largest cabin in its class and has stand-up head room and incorporates the latest in vibration reduction technology.”