Italy’s Vigili del Fuoco receives first two Leonardo AW139 helicopters

The National Italian Fire Corps (Vigili del Fuoco) has taken delivery of its first two Leonardo AW139 helicopters at a ceremony held at the Leonardo Vergiate facility in Lombardy, Italy. The two helicopters, which form part of an order for three of the aircraft valued at €45 million (US$51 million), will be used for maritime and mountain search and rescue (SAR), medical rescue, firefighting and disaster relief duties. The contract also includes integrated logistic support and training for pilots and technicians and encompasses an option for 12 additional helicopters.

The National Fire Corps AW139s feature a wide range of mission equipment, including an external rescue hoist, cargo hook with bambi bucket provision, weather radar, multi-band and satellite communication systems, high definition Forward Looking Infra-Red / Low Light TV (FLIR/LLTV) system, Leonardo’s high definition mission console with digital recorder, high definition down link, Leonardo’s Optical Proximity LiDAR System (OPLS), Night Vision Goggle (NVG) capability, new generation Trakka searchlight, emergency floatation system and external life rafts, external loudspeaker, medical rack and bubble windows.

The intention is for the AW139 to replace the ageing AB412s, while the helicopter has also been chosen by the Italian Air Force, Guardia di Finanza, the State Police, Coast Guard and a multitude of EMS operators. These first two helicopters will be based in Rome Ciampino for National Italian Fire Corps personnel training.

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