CHC Group's Australian business unit has rolled out six Leonardo AW139s to replace the S-76 SAR helicopter fleet flying for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The final AW139 will be on base in East Sale by mid-March after the first aircraft was introduced in Victoria a little over a year ago.
The AW139s are SAR-configured with four-axis auto hover, allowing them to hover over water at night. CHC is the most experienced operator of auto hover technology in Australia, and its crews use white phosphorus night vision technology, introduced into Australia by CHC, which offers great range and vision clarity.
CHC Helicopter provides services to the RAAF, the Australian Navy and the Australian Army. The new AW139 aircraft will be in addition to the current AW139 NVG-capable, four-axis auto hover machine currently servicing the Australian Navy since May 2017.
“We’re delighted to be able to upgrade our SAR fleet for the RAAF,” says regional director for Asia Pacific Vincent D’Rozario. “We have worked closely with it for almost 30 years and it is a pleasure to operate a more capable, new generation aircraft. Fitted with four-access auto hover capabilities and CHC’s award winning night vision technology, we know these aircraft will provide invaluable support during training exercises.”
A spokesperson for Leonardo adds: “We are glad to finalise the deliveries of the AW139 for such an important programme. CHC is one of Leonardo’s most trusted partners worldwide and we are proud that our helicopters are operated by RAAF for such a critical mission.”