The Nigerian Navy has taken delivery of a new AW139 from Italy’s Leonardo Helicopters, after the helicopter was ordered in 2016, the Nigerian Navy has announced last week.
The Chief of Policy and Plans of the Nigerian Navy said during a press conference that the new AW139 which was seen undergoing test flights in Italy in November and December 2019 is currently being inducted.
In September 2016 Agusta Westland (now Leonardo Helicopters) announced that the Nigerian government had ordered four AW139 helicopters configured for corporate transport and search and rescue (SAR) missions.
The Nigerian Navy previously took over an AW139 from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). This was handed over in September 2018 after being acquired in 2007. The aircraft was seen in a hangar along with the new AW139 last week in a partially disassembled state.
The Nigerian Navy currently operates a single Bell 206, an Airbus Helicopters AS365N2 Dauphin II, and an AgustaWestland AW109E Power.
AW139 Helicopter :
The AgustaWestland AW139 is a 15-seat medium-sized twin-engined helicopter developed and built by AgustaWestland, now called Leonardo. It is marketed at several different roles, including VIP/corporate transport, offshore transport, fire fighting, law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical service, disaster relief, and maritime patrol. In addition to AgustaWestland’s manufacturing facilities in Italy and the United States, the AW139 is produced in Russia by HeliVert, a joint venture between AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters.
The AW139 was originally designed and developed jointly by Agusta and Bell Helicopters and marketed as the Agusta-Bell AB139, being redesignated AW139 when Bell withdrew from the project. Since entering service in 2003, the AW139 has become one of AgustaWestland’s most influential products; it has been subsequently developed into two enlarged medium-lift helicopters, the military-orientated AW149 and the AW189 for the civil market.