AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the first of four AW119Ke single engine helicopters for the Finnish Border Guard has been delivered during an official ceremony held in Helsinki in the presence of various dignitaries including the Finnish Minister of Interior Hon. Anne Holmlund, Chief of the Finnish Border Guard Lt. Gen. Jaakko Kaukanen and Italian Ambassador H.E. Elisabetta Kelescian.
The helicopters will be used to perform various tasks including border patrol, special operations and fire fighting. The delivery ceremony took place on the Finnish Border Guard’s 80th Anniversary of flight operations. This handover marks the first AW119Ke to enter service in the European law enforcement and homeland security helicopter market.
The Finnish Border Guard chose the AW119Ke in 2008 as part of its fleet modernization and enhancement programme. The aircraft will operate from Helsinki and Rovaniemi (Arctic Circle) bases, flying in the harshest weather conditions whilst covering the entire Finnish/Russian border. The Finnish Border Guard is also being provided with a tailored training and support package as part of the contract. This purchase continues and strengthens the longstanding relationship between AgustaWestland and the Finnish Border Guard which has been supplied with AB206 JetRanger and AB412 helicopters. The Finnish Border Guard’s AW119Ke helicopters are fitted with dedicated tactical equipment and certified to perform missions using Night Vision Goggles (NVGs).
The AW119Ke´s law enforcement and homeland security variant has a patrol time of approximately 5 hours and also has the largest cabin in its class which can be quickly reconfigured for different missions. The AW119Ke also delivers outstanding performance whilst having low operating costs. The AW119Ke will provide a quantum leap in operational capability and is key to the establishment of an all new generation helicopter fleet planned by the Finnish Border Guard.
The Finnish Border Guard adds to a large number of customers who are operating or have chosen this helicopter type for homeland security and public service applications in countries such as the United States of America, Mexico, China, Republic of Korea, Spain and Uganda. Approximately 190 helicopters have been ordered to date by almost 90 customers in nearly 30 countries to perform roles such as law enforcement, EMS, VIP/corporate transport, offshore transport and fire fighting. The Finnish Border Guard is responsible for Finland´s internal security, reporting to the Ministry of the Interior. The main functions of the Border Guard are guarding Finland´s land borders and territorial waters, carrying out passport control at border crossing points, ports and airports, as well as law enforcement, maritime safety and performing search and rescue operations, especially at sea.