Finmeccanica, through its Helicopter Division, handed over to Specialist Aviation Services its first AgustaWestland AW169 new generation intermediate class helicopter.
The helicopter is also the first to be delivered to a UK customer and will enter service with Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance following installation of an advanced medical interior by Specialist Aviation Services.
Group Managing Director of Specialist Aviation Services, Henk Schaeken said: “We are very proud to be introducing the all new AW169 helicopter into service in the UK with one of the country’s leading air ambulance operators. We have been very busy training our engineers and pilots in preparation for the introduction to service of the AW169, so we can deliver from the outset the same high level of aircraft availability and support which our customers have come to expect from us.”
Adrian Bell, Chief Executive, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust added “The imminent delivery of the AW169 is a very significant event in the development of HEMS in the UK, especially in a heavily populated region the size of Kent, Surrey and Sussex – some 3,600 square miles. The enhanced capabilities of the helicopter will allow us to further develop and improve the life-saving service we deliver to the community and the aircraft offers the exciting potential to reconfigure how these services are delivered for maximum effect in the future”
Specialist Aviation Services has also been appointed as an Authorized Service Centre for the new generation AW169 light intermediate helicopter in the UK and will provide a range of support and maintenance services to AW169 operators.
A versatile, new generation twin engine light intermediate category helicopter, the 4.6 tonne AW169 has been designed in response to the growing market demand for an aircraft that delivers high performance, meets all the latest safety standards and has multi-role capabilities. The AW169 incorporates several new technology features in the rotor system, engines, avionics, transmission and electric power generation and distribution systems.
The AW169 is part of the AgustaWestland family of new generation helicopters that includes the AW139 and AW189 models, which possess the same high performance flight characteristics and safety features as well as sharing a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance/training concept. This commonality will allow more effective operations for customers operating helicopter fleets across the 4 to 9 tonne categories.
More than 150 AW169 helicopters have been ordered by almost 60 customers in over 20 countries around the world to date, including framework contracts and options, for a wide range of applications including air ambulance, executive/corporate transport, law enforcement, offshore transport and utility roles. The AW169 has already been selected for Air Ambulance operations in the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and New Zealand to replace older generation helicopters. UK customers have ordered the AW169 for air ambulance and corporate transport missions.