AFM signs contract for second Finmeccanica helicopter

Second purchase of AW139, AgustaWestland helicopter

The Armed Forces of Malta has announced the signature of a contract with AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company for the purchase of a second AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopter.

The helicopter will be used to perform border control tasks and search and rescue missions. The delivery of the second AW139 is expected for June 2015, while the first helicopter will be delivered in June 2014.

The order is part of the ongoing plan to strengthen the capabilities of the Armed Forces of Malta, through the External Borders Fund 2007-2013.

"This helicopter was an operational requirement that forms part of the medium to long term logistics plan of the AFM. Apart from the array of operational capabilities this acquisition provides the Maltese Armed Forces with a modern modular air platform meeting today’s and tomorrow’s service requirements," the AFM said.

The AW139 has a maximum speed of 193 mph, a range of almost 600 miles, and service ceiling of 20,000 feet.

"This will enhance the AFM’s capability to operate out at sea for an extended duration and at a greater distance than what is currently possible," the AFM said.

The helicopter is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment package for maritime patrol and SAR missions that includes a high-definition FLIR system, search/weather radar, cabin mission console, naval transponder, search light, satellite communication system, a 4-axis autopilot with SAR modes, external rescue hoist and four bag floatation system. This state of the art intermediate twin-engine helicopter features the largest cabin in its category for greater mission flexibility and comfort.