BAN's World GazetteerItaly
Estonia's border guard reports that the first of two ordered AW139s began patrols in October. Roland Peets, director general of border guard, says the AW139, based in Tallinn, will carry out patrols and search and rescue operations over the whole of Estonia.
The AW139 has been acquired using the Schengen Facility Program set up to finance projects that will patrol the outer extended borders of the European Union which has grown to 27 countries from the original six founders in 1957. "The procurement is one of the biggest projects to have been accomplished utilising Schengen Facility funds," says Peets. He says a second AW139 is currently on order to strengthen Estonia's ability to provide SAE, law enforce-ment, disaster relief and utility applications. Peets reports that the choice of the AW139 was based on its range and endurance that enables extended search patrols even in the most demanding environmental and weather conditions. "There is a spacious cabin which enables the AW139 to carry up to 15 passengers or six litters with four medical attendants," he points out.
Ireland and the United Arab Emirates are among around 30 other countries to have ordered more than 280 AW139s for SAR, emergency medical service, law enforcement, offshore transport, vip/corporate transport and utility.