Life Link III, an EMS operator in Minnesota and Wisconsin in the United States, has signed a contract for an AW169 and an AW109 Trekker for air medical transport missions. The helicopters will ensure in-flight critical care and transport patients across the upper-midwest of the country and delivery is anticipated to take place in the fourth quarter of 2021. This order marks the entry of the AW109 Trekker into the US for EMS applications and further grows the success of the AW169 in this market.
The AW169 features a 222 cubic ft. cabin, and Life Link III will have a FAA certified EMS interior which provides 360-degree patient access essential for critical care. The helicopter can travel up to 440 nautical miles, with a top speed of 160 kts, and it can climb to 14,500 ft.
The Trekker has high-end EMS capabilities in terms of its interior, performance, advanced avionics and safety standards. The twin-engine helicopter is equipped with night vision goggles, single-pilot instrument flight rules and a customised interior built to meet Life Link III's requirements.
This sale will increase Life Link III's Leonardo helicopter fleet to 14 aircraft, and the company will be the first to operate a mixed fleet of AW119 IFR and AW109 Trekker. These aircraft feature the same core avionics, which deliver unique advantages in terms of fleet management, training, safety and support. The EMS operator's existing fleet comprises of ten AW119Kx which have accrued more than 21,000 flight hours. In addition, in July of this year, Life Link III signed for the first IFR-certified AW119 in the civil market, which will enable the company to undertake safer operations in challenging weather conditions. The helicopter is expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2021.
Life Link III VP of operations Lee McCammon says: “The addition of the AW109 Trekker and AW169 will return Life Link III to instrument flight capability and further enhance our ability to deliver safe, fast and reliable air medical transportation to the communities we serve. Our strong relationship with Leonardo supports our commitment to utilising advanced technology to complete life-saving missions.”
William Hunt, MD of Leonardo Helicopters in Philadelphia, adds: “We are pleased to once again be supporting the vital life-saving missions of our long-standing partner, Life Link III. The AW109 Trekker and AW169 will be great additions to the EMS operator's fleet, and both aircraft with their high-tech capabilities will enable Life Link III to conduct its operations safely and quickly.”
This latest sale represents the growing share of Leonardo's helicopters in the North American EMS market, which now totals more than 110 across a fleet of AW119s, AW109s, AW169s and AW139s. Leonardo is committed to serving and protecting communities around the world, contributing to sustainable growth by leading in next generation technologies. Partnering with governments, private organisations and industries for the best security and safety capabilities is a cornerstone of Leonardo's BeTomorrow2030 strategic plan.
Nearly 240 orders for AW169s have been placed by countries including Italy, the UK, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and the United States. To date over 70 AW109 Trekkers have been sold to customers worldwide for a range of roles and over 1,500 AW109 series units have been sold globally for the widest scope of missions.