Babcock Australia has renewed a contract with the government of Queensland for emergency medical services (EMS) helicopter operations, which will see it introduce a pair of Leonardo AW139s.

Based on Horn Island, the AW139s will operate in the far north of Australia in the Torres Strait region, which separates Australia from Papua New Guinea, says Babcock. The helicopters will also perform search and rescue missions.

Queensland AW139 Babcock

Source: Babcock

AW139s will be used for EMS and search and rescue missions

The contract will run for 12 years and builds on a previous 15-year relationship between the Queensland Government and Babcock in the Torres Strait region.

Cabin modification work will be undertaken in Queensland. The helicopters will have roll-on-roll-off stretchers, a winch, as well as a L3Harris Wescam MX-15 electro-optical/infrared camera.

“Babcock has operated in the remote Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula regions for more than 27 years, ensuring the ongoing access to emergency medical services for some of the hardest-to-reach communities,” says Peter Newington, Babcock’s managing director for aviation and critical services.

“Our experience in the region gives us a unique understanding of the tasks and their interaction with the challenging environment due to the cluster of small islands, and ever-changing weather conditions.”

Cirium fleets data indicates that Babcock operates 14 EMS helicopters in Australia, comprising seven Bell 412s and seven AW139s.

It is also listed as having a pair of EMS-roled AW139s on order, with these helicopters to be leased from LCI. The build year of the on-order helicopters is listed as 2024.