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UK SAR programme is bolstered by Bristow purchase
These six AW139s will join an existing fleet of nine AW189s, with deliveries between 2023 and 2024. The contract supports Bristow's UK Search and Rescue programme.

Bristow Group has signed a contract to procure six AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopters from Leonardo to support the Second-Generation Search and Rescue Aviation (UKSAR2G) programme by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Aircraft's deliveries are expected to start in 2023 and to be completed in 2024, joining an existing fleet of nine AW189 super medium twin engine SAR helicopters as part of the UKSAR2G programme.

These latest AW139s will feature the very latest in product enhancement, technology and mission capability for the task including a seven ton MTOW (maximum take-off weight), Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics Phase 8, an advanced synthetic vision system (SVS) and improved 2D maps and wireless data loading, which will deliver even greater all-weather capabilities and mission effectiveness. Furthermore, these AW139s will also feature a limited ice protection system (LIPS) to deliver even greater mission capability in demanding weather conditions. This new fleet of AW139 SAR helicopters for the UKSAR2G requirement will benefit from the new Leonardo-Bristow long-term global service programme. The aircraft will also undergo a mission system integration to be carried out by Bristow in partnership with Nova Systems after their delivery, ensuring an even greater involvement of UK-based industry.

Leonardo MD Gian Piero Cutillo says: “This latest step supporting our key partner Bristow to meet major users' needs is further testament to the outstanding capabilities of our best-selling AW139 as the aircraft of choice in its category for SAR among prime operators and countries. It perfectly complements the medium to long range SAR capabilities of the AW189 delivering unparalleled combined capabilities for the task. We're proud to continue to provide our contribution to the MCA partnership with this type, its technology and support solutions will benefit the served communities in UK.”

Leonardo and Bristow have been partners for over 26 years with Bristow using a range of types including the AW119 single engine, AW109 light twin, AW139 intermediate twin and AW189 super medium. Bristow's fleet of Leonardo helicopters will account for nearly 100 units with the arrival of these additional six AW139s. Bristow's Leonardo helicopters have successfully accomplished missions such as offshore transport supporting the energy industry, SAR and emergency medical service throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australasia.

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