By Douglas Hernández
The Latin American Air Forces have in their inventories ageing helicopters, which are reaching the end of their operational life and need to be replaced in order to maintain or improve the forces’ capabilities.
Leonardo of Italy considers its AW139 helicopter a very good option for this market. The aircraft is powered by two powerful and safe Pratt & Whitney PT6C-67C Turboshafts engines that allow it to reach a cruising speed of 306 km/h and reach a range of 573 nautical miles.
Mr. Corrado Badalassi, from Leonardo’s helicopter division, interviewed by EDR On-Line at Expodefensa 2021, pointed out that the long range of the aircraft is one of the characteristics that most impressed Colombian pilots, and this is the reason why the Colombian Air Force has among its assets one AW139, which is used for presidential transport, where safety and reliability are vital. He underlined precisely that helicopter, with its performance in presidential and VIP transport duties for the top Colombian government representative, demonstrates its in real, and this gives an edge to Leonardo over his competitors.
Among the key features of that helicopter, the company representative highlighted, for example, its 5 hours autonomy, and its spacious cabin, which can accommodate passengers, cargo, stretchers, humanitarian aid, or materials and equipment for all types of civil or military missions. The helicopter can also be armed, to fulfil combat missions. The versatility and capabilities of the AW139 make it a very good option to replace old aircraft that are expensive to operate and maintain, significantly expanding the capabilities of Air Forces that require safety, efficiency and results, at reasonable prices, Leonardo added.
Photo courtesy D. Hernández