The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is set to introduce a fifth AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter into its fleet, Leonardo announced on Dec. 14.
The aircraft is expected to be delivered from Leonardo’s Philadelphia facility in Spring 2019 and will be used to perform a range of missions primarily including fire suppression, emergency medical service (EMS) and search and rescue (SAR).
The Los Angeles Fire Department protects more than four million people in America’s second largest city. It is responsible for 400+ square-miles, 106 stations, and over 3,200 firefighters. LAFD Air Operations’ mission includes fire suppression, air ambulance transport, hoist rescues, reconnaissance and mapping. Their helicopter fleet is housed at Van Nuys Airport (KVNY).
The existing fleet of four LAFD-owned multirole AW139s have a combined 7,000+ flight hours since the first helicopter entered service in 2008, helping respond to over 700 incidents annually. AW139s have proved their workhorse reliability and have demonstrated a crucial piece of equipment for suppressing wildfires throughout Southern California. Features customized for the LAFD AW139 include, among others, search light, rescue hoist, advanced water tank for fire suppression, wire-cutter and modular cabin interior.
The AW139 sets new standards through advanced technology and high performance, reliability, safety, flexibility and cabin space. The AW139 is the ideal solution to operate in harsh environments and weather conditions. Its modern avionics reduces crews’ workload allowing the pilot to focus on the mission. Over 270 customers from around 70 nations have already ordered over 1100 AW139s, confirming itself as the bestselling aircraft in its category.
The AW139 is able to perform a wide range of roles including government and public utility, EMS, SAR, patrol, homeland security and transport duties.
Over 900 AW139s have been delivered worldwide to date and have logged in excess of 2 million flight hours. Many of the AW139s today in service in the U.S. perform law enforcement and public service missions in Maryland, New Jersey and California. The type has also set new standards in the intermediate category for firefighting operations in various nations such as Italy, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.