AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace are pleased to announce that the Hiroshima Prefecture of Japan has signed a contract for an AW139 medium twin helicopter. This aircraft will be used by the Hiroshima Prefecture Disaster Relief Department to perform fire fighting and disaster relief missions. The helicopter is due to enter operational service in 2012. This AW139 sale follows an order for the same helicopter type by the Saitama Prefecture in November and by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency in April this year and continues the success of the AW139 in the Japanese market for fire fighting and disaster relief applications.
AgustaWestland’s Head of Region, NE Asia, Andrew Symonds. said “We are proud to provide the Japanese Government with another AW139 helicopter to support its range of demanding emergency mission requirements. This acquisition brings the number of AW139 helicopters ordered by customers in Japan to thirty, a remarkable number for a helicopter that has only been in service for a short period of time and confirming the AW139’s position as the most advanced mission capable helicopter available today in the medium twin class.”
The AW139 was chosen by the customer after a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation to ensure it could meet its demanding mission and safety requirements. The Hiroshima Prefecture’s AW139 will feature a comprehensive mission-dedicated fit including a “belly tank” fire fighting system, Bambi Bucket, weather radar, search light, cargo hook, rescue hoist, dual rappelling hooks, loudspeaker system and main rotor blade high visibility painting. The advanced avionics systems selected include a nose mounted FLIR camera and downlink transmission (air-to-ground) capability, which will be installed in Japan. In addition to the state of the art Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) capable GPS and Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), the AW139 offers superior safety levels in the fire fighting role due to its class leading performance, outstanding one engine inoperative capabilities, system redundancy and superior levels of crashworthiness.
This contract further strengthens the presence of the AW139 in the Japanese helicopter market where over 30 helicopters have been ordered by customers including the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Japan Coast Guard, All Nippon Helicopter (NHK), Kansai TV, Japan National Police Agency, Saitama Prefecture, Fire and Disaster Management Agency and Hiroshima Prefecture. With orders for over 560 units in more than 50 countries from almost 160 customers, the AW139 is the best selling medium twin helicopter in the world.
Many of the world’s leading fire fighting, EMS and disaster relief operators have now selected or are already operating the AW139 in many countries including the USA, Canada, Italy, Republic of Korea, China, Malaysia and Australia. AgustaWestland's success in the Japanese helicopter market continues to grow with strong sales in recent years across its complete commercial product range. AgustaWestland opened a new regional business headquarters in Tokyo in 2008 in support of its growing business in Japan. The helicopter fleet in Japan is also supported by three official service centres which provide maintenance and repair services. This extremely important selection by Hiroshima provides evidence of the continuing success AgustaWestland has experienced in the Japanese helicopter market in recent years, meeting commercial, government and military requirements by offering the best solutions and establishing strong relationships with its local partners. AgustaWestland is committed to building on this success by offering the best solutions for future rotorcraft requirements in Japan. The opening of the AgustaWestland regional business headquarters in Tokyo will play a major role in supporting its expanding and already important presence in this key market.