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AgustaWestland AW139

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The AgustaWestland AW139 is a 15-seat medium-sized

twin-engined helicopter developed and produced principally
by AgustaWestland. It is marketed at several different roles,
including VIP/corporate transport, offshore transport, fire
fighting, law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency


medical service, disaster relief, and maritime patrol.[3] In

addition to AgustaWestland's own manufacturing facilities in
Italy and the United States, the AW139 is produced in
Russia by HeliVert, a joint venture between AgustaWestland
and Russian Helicopters.
The AW139 was originally designed and developed jointly
by Agusta and Bell Helicopters and marketed as the AgustaBell AB139, it was redesignated the AW139 when Bell
withdrew from the project. Since entering service in 2003,
the AW139 has become one of AgustaWestland's most
influential products; it has been subsequently developed into
two enlarged medium-lift helicopters, the military-orientated
AW149 and the AW189 for the civil market.

1 Development

A Spanish Maritime Security and Rescue Society


Medium-lift SAR/utility helicopter

Manufacturer AgustaWestland
First flight

3 February 2001



Primary users CHC Helicopter

Irish Air Corps
UAE Air Force
Number built


1.1 Origins

Unit cost

$12 million (2013)[2]

1.2 Further development

Developed into AgustaWestland AW149

2 Design
3 Operational history
4 Variants
5 Operators
5.1 Military operators
5.2 Government and civil operators
6 Notable accidents
7 Specifications AW139

8 See also
9 References
9.1 Citations
9.2 Bibliography
10 External links

In 1997, the Italian helicopter manufacturer Agusta launched a
programme to develop a replacement for the Bell Huey family of
helicopters (which had been built in very large numbers by Bell
Helicopter and under license by Agusta) with a potential market of 900
aircraft being predicted. In 1998, Bell and Agusta entered into an
agreement, setting up a joint venture, Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company
(BAAC) to develop two aircraft: a conventional helicopter and a tiltrotor
aircraft. These became the Bell/Agusta AB139 and Bell/Agusta BA609
respectively;[4] Bell was to be the leading partner for the development of
the BA609 while Agusta would be the lead partner in AB139; it was

A corporate transport AW139

intended for production, sales, and support to be shared.[5]

On 26 September 2000, the first order for the type was placed by Bristow Helicopters. The first pre-production
helicopter flew on 3 February 2001 at Vergiate in Italy,[6][7] two further AW139s also participated in flying
trials.[8] The first production AW139 made its first flight on 24 June 2002.[9] European JAA certification was
received in June 2003, and its FAA type certificate followed in December 2004. By May 2005, the AW139 had
received in excess of 100 orders worldwide.[5] In the US, the type was marketed under the designation US139,
and was entered into the US Army's Light Utility Helicopter competition.[10] One key market for the AW139
was the oil & gas industry, which required helicopters of increasing endurance for offshore operations.[11] In
2005, AgustaWestland bought out Bell's 25% share in the program and all of its rights to the AW139 for $95
In April 2008, AgustaWestland revealed that it was in the process of certifying an increase in the AW139's max
gross weight to 14,991 lb (6,800 kg) to better compete in long-range markets served by helicopters such as the
larger Sikorsky S-92 and Eurocopter EC225.[14] In 2007, a second production line at the AgustaWestland
Aerospace plant in Philadelphia, United States was established;[15] the Philadelphia plant produced its 200th
AW139 in September 2014, at which point U.S. production is intended to reach 40 units per year in the near

future.[16] By 2011, AgustaWestland was producing 90 AW139s a year, the type was being directly attributed as
responsible for 9.5% of the company's overall revenue in 2010.[15] By 2013, a combined total of 720 AW139s
had been sold to over 200 operators in 60 different countries.[3]

Further development
In 2011, a military-configured variant, the AW139M, was revealed by
AgustaWestland. It was promoted at the US market, including for the
U.S. Air Force's Common Vertical Lift Support Program. The AW139M
is equipped with a high definition forward-looking infrared (FLIR), selfprotection system, heavy-duty landing gear, and has low thermal and
acoustic signatures; a significant proportion of the equipment is sourced
from American manufacturers. Options offered include an external
stores system including various armaments, armored seats, self-sealing
fuel tanks, and a full ice-protection system for all-weather

The AW139 has a 5-blade main rotor

and a retractable undercarriage

The AW139 serves as the basis for AgustaWestland's wider business

strategy, under which it aims to produce a standardised family of helicopters with common design features. The
sharing of components and design philosophies is intended to simplify maintenance and training for operators,
commonality also lowers the production costs. The AW139 is the first of this group, as of 2014 it is to be joined
by the larger AW149 and AW189, aimed at military and civilian customers respectively. Advances made in the
development of new models are intended to be transferrable onto existing family members, decreasing the cost
of future upgrades for the AW139.[15][18]
In June 2010, it was announced that AgustaWestland and Rostvertol would build a manufacturing plant in
Tomilino, Moscow Region, it was initially planned to produce AW139s by 2012.[19] HeliVert, a joint venture
between AgustaWestland and Rostvertol, commenced domestic production of the AW139 in 2012, at which
point it was planned that between 15 and 20 helicopters would be produced per year. The first AW139 to be
assembled in Russia made its first flight in December 2012.[20] In January 2013, the Russian Defense Ministry
was reportedly considering placing an order for seven AW139s.[21] In January 2014, HeliVert, received a
Certificate of Approval from the Aviation Register of the Interstate Aviation Committee to commence
production of commercial AW139s.[22] In September 2014, a certificate was granted to perform comprehensive
maintenance and servicing of the type at the Tomilino facility.[23]
In 2015, AgustaWestland unveiled an AW139 variant with an increased gross weight of 7 tonnes, this enables a
range of 305 km while carrying 12 passengers; existing AW139s can also be rebuilt to the newer heavy-weight
model. The heavier airframe comes at the expense of decreased hot and high performance however.[24] In
November 2015, AgustaWestland demonstrated a 60-minute "run-dry" test (no oil) of an AW139's main
gearbox, 30 minutes greater than any other certified rotorcraft at the time.[25]


The AW139 is a conventional twin-engine multi-role helicopter. It has a

five-bladed fully articulated main rotor with a titanium hub and
composite blades and a four-bladed articulated tail rotor. It is fitted with
a retractable tricycle landing gear, the two aft wheels retract into
external sponsons, which are also used to house emergency
equipment.[5] It is flown by a crew of two pilots, with up to 15
passengers accommodated in three rows of five. The AW139 had been
aimed at a vacant niche in the market, sitting below larger types such as
the Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma and Sikorsky S-92 and above
smaller ones like the Bell 412 and Eurocopter EC155.[5] Rotor & Wing
has described the AW139's flying attitude as 'docile and predictable'.[5]

Instrument panel of the AW139

The AW139 is powered by two FADEC-controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C turboshaft engines; the
FADEC system seamlessly adjusts the engines for pilot convenience and passenger comfort, and can
automatically handle a single-engine failure without noticeable deviation.[26] It was constructed with
maintenance requirements in mind; critical systems can be readily accessed, where possible the number of parts
has been reduced, and many components have been designed for an extended lifecycle; a Health and Usage
Monitoring System (HUMS) is also equipped.[27] In excess of a thousand customizable items of equipment can
be configured per customer demand, including auxiliary fuel tanks, rescue hoists, cargo hooks, search and
weather radar, ice protection systems, external cameras and search lights, and seating arrangements.[1][5]
The AW139 features a modular glass cockpit, a commonly-installed feature is the four-axis autopilot, which
enables functions such as an auto-hover capability. The cockpit has been designed to enable single-pilot flight
operations under instrument flight rules conditions, it is also compatible with the use of night vision goggles.[5]
Pilot training for the type is available via advanced Level D Full Flight Simulators. According to Shipping &
Marine, the AW139 has "the largest cabin in its class"; containing up to 15 passengers or four litters and
accompanying medics, an additional baggage compartment is used to stow equipment to keep the main cabin
clear for use.[27]
Large sections of the AW139 have been developed and produced by a range of different companies. Airframes
are typically produced by PZL-widnik, who delivered their 200th airframe in April 2014.[28] Pratt & Whitney
Canada produce the type's PT6C turboshaft engines, while the primary and secondary transmissions were
developed by Westland GKN and Kawasaki Heavy Industries respectively. A significant portion of the avionics
are sourced from Honeywell.[8] Turkish Aerospace Industries has been subcontracted to manufacture various
elements of the AW139, including the fuselage, canopy, and radome.[29] Final assembly of most AW139s is
performed at AgustaWestland's facilities in Philadelphia, United States, and Vergiate, Italy;[28] those destined
for customers within the Commonwealth of Independent States are typically assembled by a third final
manufacturing plant in Tomilino, Moscow operated by HeliVert.[19]

Operational history

The Irish Air Corps was the first military operator of the type, having taken delivery of its first AW139, of a
batch of six, in August 2006.[30] The United Arab Emirates Air Force and the Qatar Air Force became the
second and third military operators of the AW139, having ordered 9 and
18 of the type respectively.[31] A specialised military variant, the
AW139M, was later launched, for which the Italian Air Force was the
launch customer.[18] Designated as HH-139A in Italian service, they are
used for combat search and rescue (CSAR) operations.[32] In October
2012, the Royal Thai Army ordered a pair of AW139s; a further eight
were produced in October 2015.[33]
In February 2006, Mitsui Bussan Aerospace signed a $100 million
contract for 12 AW139s and an exclusive distribution agreement for the

A SASEMAR AW139 during a

helihoisting exercise

AW139 in Japan.[30] In October 2006, the Japan Coast Guard announced

its selection of the AW139 as the replacement for its Bell 212 search and rescue fleet; by early 2011, 18
AW139s were on order by the Japan Coast Guard through Mitsui Bussan as the distributor, a total of 24 are
expected to be ordered.[30][34] The Japanese National Police Agency placed multiple orders for the AW139;
other organisations in the nation have used the type for firefighting and disaster relief operations.[35]
In the North American market, CHC Helicopter was the first operator of
the type.[8] In 2012, CHC became the largest operator of the AW139 in
the world, at that point operating a fleet of 44 in search and rescue,
emergency medical service and offshore transport missions.[36] In 2015,
responsibility for the maintenance of CHC's AW139 fleet was
reorganized under their helicopter support division, Heli-One; activities
include post-delivery modifications and engine overhauls.[37]
Ornge AW139 air ambulance

Qatar-based firm Gulf Helicopters has emerged as one of the largest

AW139 operators worldwide, first ordering the type in 2007 for offshore

transport duties; it has since become an authorized service center and training center for the AW139.[38]
Malaysian operator Weststar Aviation has the distinction of being the biggest operator of the AW139 in the Asia
Pacific; as of February 2014, the company has ordered a total of 34 helicopters.[39] Since taking delivery of
their first AW139 in December 2010, Weststar has typically employed the type in support of offshore oil and
gas operations.[40]
In July 2014, AgustaWestland announce that the global fleet had accumulated in excess of one million flight
hours; by this milestone, a total of 770 AW139s had been produced.[1]
On 24 May 2016, AugustaWestland parent Leonardo-Finmeccanica announced that Pakistan had signed a
contract for an undisclosed number of AW139s as part of a fleet renewal programme spread over several
batches, including a logistic support and training package. The AW139s, deliveries of which are expected in
2017, will be used to perform search-and-rescue (SAR) operations across the country. A total of 11 AW139s are
already in service in Pakistan, with five aircraft operated for government relief and transportation duties.[41]

Original Italian-built production aircraft, 54 built.[42]
Designation change from 55th aircraft onwards, built in Italy.[42]
AW139 (long nose configuration)
Long nose variant with increased room for avionics built in Italy and the United States.[42]
Militarised variant, capable of carrying various weapons payloads.[43]
Italian Air Force designation for ten search-and rescue configured AW139Ms.[44]
Italian Air Force designation for two VIP configured AW139s.[45]

Military operators
Algerian Air Force - 11[46]
Algerian Navy - 3[46]
Bangladesh Air Force - 2 [47]

AW139 at Trento, 2012

Cyprus Air Force - 3[46]
Egyptian Air Force - 2[46]
Irish Air Corps - 6[46]
Italian Air Force - 15[46]
Libyan Air Force - 1[46]

AW139 in flight, 2010

Maltese Air Wing - 2 (one on order)[46]
Nigerian Air Force - 1[46]
Panamanian Public Forces - 5[46]
Qatar Emiri Air Force - 21[46]
Senegalese Air Force - 1[46]

Royal Air Force AW139 using its

hoist during a training exercise

Royal Thai Army - 2 (8 on order)[46]
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago Air Guard - 4[46]
United Arab Emirates
UAE Air Force - 13 (one on order)[46]
United Kingdom
Defence Helicopter Flying School - 3[46]

Government and civil operators

Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Police[48]
Algerian Civil Defence[49]
Ambulance Victoria
Emergency Management Queensland[50]

An AW139 of the New South Wales

Ambulance Service taking off.

Azerbaijan Airlines[51]
Brazilian Federal Police[52]
Bulgarian Border Police[53]
CHC Helicopters[54]
Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society[56]
Carabineros de Chile[57]
Croatian Border Police[58]
Cyprus Police Aviation Unit - 2[59]
Estonian Border Guard[60] - 3
Spanish Maritime Safety Agency - 8[61]
Hong Kong
Sky Shuttle[62]
Polizia di Stato[63]
Guardia di Finanza[64]
Guardia Costiera - 10, 2 more on order [65][66]

Japan Coast Guard

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (4 ordered as of 2016)[67]
Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department[68]
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency[69][70]
Weststar Aviation[71]
Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard[72]
National Police[73]
Royal Oman Police[75]
Gulf Helicopters[76]
UTair Aviation[77]
Maritime Rescue Group[78]
United Kingdom
Bond Offshore Helicopters[79]
Her Majesty's Coastguard[80]
United States
Los Angeles City Fire Department[81]
Maryland State Police[82]
New Jersey State Police[83]
United States Border Patrol[84]

Notable accidents

External video

On 21 January 2010, Spanish Maritime Safety Agency AW-139SAR (registration

EC-KYR), crashed into the sea close to Almeria. Three people died.[85]
On 23 February 2011, South Korean Coast Guard AW139 went missing off the
southern island of Jeju. Five people died.[86]
On 13 March 2014, Haughey Air AW139 (registration G-LBAL) crashed shortly
after take-off from Gillingham, Norfolk, United Kingdom, killing all four people
on board.[87]
On 26 December 2015, Socit Beninoise des Hydrocarbures AW139
(registration: TY-ABC) hit a wall during a forced landing, with the Beninese
Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou on board. Everyone walked away from the

Specifications AW139
Data from AgustaWestland,[89] EASA,[42] Gajetti and Maggiore[90]

General characteristics
Crew: 1 to 2
Capacity: 15 passengers
Length: 16.66 m (54 ft 8 in)
Main rotor diameter: 13.80 m (45 ft 3 in)
Width: 2.26 m (10 ft 0 in)
Height: 4.98 m (16 ft 4 in)
Main rotor area: 149.57 m2 (1609.97 ft2)
Empty weight: 3,622 kg (7,985 lb)
Gross weight: 6,400 (7,000kg for 7t version) kg (14,110 lb)
Powerplant: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turboshaft
engine, 1,142 kW (1,531 hp) each


AW139 performing
an sea rescue exercise
in Valencia, 2013 (http
Documentary Megafactories
AW139 Manufacturing
AW139 lifting a
sports car (https://ww

Irish Air Corps AW139 during a flight

display, 2012

Maximum speed: 310 km/h (193 mph)

Cruising speed: 306 km/h (191 mph)
Range: 1,250 km ( miles)
Endurance: 5 hours 56 min
Service ceiling: 6,096 m (20,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 10.9 m/s (2,140 ft/min)

2 x 7.62 mm FN MAG machine guns mounted in side windows
(Irish Air Corps)

See also
Related development

Guardia Costiera AW139 in a state of

partial disassembly

AgustaWestland AW109
Agusta A129 Mangusta
AgustaWestland AW149
AgustaWestland AW169
AgustaWestland AW189
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Airbus Helicopters H160
Related lists
List of helicopters

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External links
AW139 page on Leonardo-Finmeccanica (http://www.leonardoco
Wikimedia Commons has
media related to
AW139 Specs & Photo on (http://www.flugzeugi
AgustaWestland AW139.
European Aviation Safety Agency Type Certificate Data Sheet (
Federal Aviation Authority Type Certificate Data Sheet (
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Categories: International civil utility aircraft 20002009 Italian helicopters 20002009 Agusta aircraft
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