Japan's Saitama prefecture has ordered a single AugustaWestland AW139 medium twin helicopter, which will be operated by its Fire Fighting and Disaster Relief Department.
The aircraft is expected to reach operational service in Spring 2012, says AugustaWestland. Its missions will include firefighting, emergency medical services, air rescue, and transport.
"The AW139 was chosen following a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process by the customer to ensure it could meet its demanding mission and safety requirements," says the company.
This will be first AW139 in Japan tasked with firefighting and disaster relief duties.
The aircraft will have a 'belly tank' firefighting system, weather radar, nose camera, FLIR (forward looking infra-red), video downlink, search light, cargo hook, rescue hoist, and loudspeaker system. Avionics will include an enhanced vision system (EVS), enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), and a traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS).
This order brings Japan's total number of AW139 orders to 22. Other Japanese users include the Tokyo police, coast guard, All Nippon Helicopter (NHK), Kansai TV, and the Japan National Police Agency.
It will be assembled at the company's facility in Philadelphia, United States.