PICTURE: Italian customs agency gets second AW139

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AgustaWestland has delivered its second AW139 to Italy's Guardia di Finanza customs and border patrol service.

Accepted by the agency's chief of staff Gen Michele Adinolfi at the manufacturer's Vergiate facility near Milan, the medium-twin helicopter will augment and later replace its current Agusta/Bell AB412s.

A first AW139 was handed over in December 2008 and delivered to the service's air and sea specialisation centre at Pratica di Mare in June 2009. It was supplied in a utility configuration to support training and familiarisation duties.

The newly delivered aircraft comes in a multirole configuration with systems including an electro-optical/infrared sensor. This will enable it to perform missions including surveillance, maritime patrol, law enforcement and homeland security.

 
© AgustaWestland

Although AgustaWestland has so far received an order only for two aircraft, industry sources suggest the customs service could have an eventual requirement for 20-25 customised AW139s.

Under a fleet renewal programme, the Guardia di Finanza will also receive an initial 11 AW109N helicopters. These will replace earlier AW109AIIs and MD Helicopters NH500MC/MDs. AgustaWestland says it has also shown growing interest in the BA609 tiltrotor.