AgustaWestland nets Swedish SAR buy

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The Swedish Maritime Administration has purchased seven AgustaWestland AW139 intermediate twin-engined helicopters for use on search and rescue (SAR) operations.

The first aircraft will be handed over in early 2013, with deliveries running until 2014. They will undertake missions over land and sea and be operated from five bases across the country.

The AW139 order represents an expansion for the SMA, which operates four Sikorsky S-76s, with the oldest an A-model example dating from 1981, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.

These will gradually be replaced by the new aircraft, says the SMA.

"It is very satisfying that in the future we will have an improved capacity and ability to save lives without increasing the total cost of operations," says Noomi Eriksson, deputy director general of the SMA.