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PICTURES: Sweden takes first SAR-roled AW139

Sweden’s Maritime Administration has taken delivery of its first of seven AgustaWestland AW139 intermediate twins equipped for search and rescue (SAR) operations.

A further two helicopters will be handed over by the end of the year from its 2012 order, with the remaining deliveries to be completed in 2014.

 

 Swedish Maritime Administration

To be operated from five bases – Ronneby, Visby, Gothenburg, Norrtäljegatan and Umeå – the AW139s will provide both maritime and inland SAR cover.

Noomi Eriksson, director of naval and air rescue operations at the administration, says: “We’ve been working for this for several years now and it feels great to be able to improve performance without increasing the total cost of operations.

 

 AgustaWestland

“Now we can continue to work to improve air and sea rescue more and become even better at saving lives.”

The helicopter was ferried from AgustaWestland’s Vergiate plant on 10 September, landing at Sweden’s Skavsta airport later that day. At the controls was Capt Michael Åkerlund, who is in charge of the team responsible for test and evaluation activities before it is inducted into service.

 

 Swedish Maritime Administration

“Now begins a new era for Swedish air and sea rescue. What distinguishes this helicopter from the one we have today is that this is cutting edge in everything from its construction and safety features to its autopilot and instruments,” says Åkerlund. “It is faster, goes further, takes more cargo and has largely improved performance on all points.”

Sweden had previously operated a fleet of Sikorsky S-76s for its SAR requirements.

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