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Monday, November 26, 2012

Seven AW139s to Boost Sweden’s SAR Capability

By Andrew Drwiega, Military Editor

The Swedish Maritime Administration (Sjöfartsverket), the authority responsible for maritime and aeronautical search and rescue (SAR) services in Sweden, has placed an order with AgustaWestland for seven AW139 intermediate twins.

The AW139s will be outfitted for SAR missions and equipped with a Full Ice Protection System (FIPS), allowing all-weather operations in icing conditions. The helicopters will be positioned and operated from five bases around the country: Goteborg, Ronneby, Visby, Stockholm and Sundsvall. AgustaWestland plans to begin deliveries in second quarter 2013 with the last helicopter completed during 2014.

Geoff Hoon, managing director of International Business, said that the Swedish Maritime Administration had completed a “detailed evaluation process” in reaching the decision to purchase AgustaWestland’s AW139.

According to the SMA, the new aircraft will increase capacity and capability in the search and rescue operations. Said Noomi Eriksson, SMA deputy general director and head of search and rescue department: “It is very satisfying that the SMA in the future will have an improved capacity and ability to save lives.”

Norrlandsflyg has provided SAR helicopters for Sweden’s SAR duties since 2002. It has operated 12 Sikorsky S-76s. On Nov. 1, 2011 the Swedish Maritime Administration took over the administration of the company’s activities when the Swedish government acquired all the stocks in its parent company, Scandinavian Helicopter Invest (SHI) through the national Maritime Administration.

Related: SAR Helicopter News

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