Helicopters Magazine

Features Military Procurements
Italian Air Force receives HH-139B

July 7, 2021  By Naomi Szeben

From left to right: Leonardo Helicopters Managing Director Gian Piero Cutillo, Italian Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Alberto Rosso, Italian Minister of Defence Lorenzo Guerini, Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo General Manager Lucio Valerio Cioffi. Image courtesy of Leonardo Company.com

Italian Minister of Defence Lorenzo Guerini and Italian Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Alberto Rosso attended the acceptance ceremony of an Italian Air Force Leonardo HH-139B helicopter in Vergiatem, Italy.

The HH-139B is a dedicated Air Force variant of the AW139 line. The aircraft will be used for a wide range of missions including search and rescue, firefighting, and Slow Mover Interceptor.

Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo, said in a statement: “We are proud to provide our capability so that the Italian Air Force’s major duties such as supporting the national community and homeland security are guaranteed… the facility in Vergiate — the largest Leonardo helicopter final assembly line with more than 1,000 employees — shows outstanding rotorcraft capabilities in terms of products, manufacturing processes, and professional skills, and is able to maintain Leonardo and Italy at the forefront of innovation in an increasingly strategic and highly competitive sector.”

The helicopter’s state-of-the-art satellite navigation and synthetic vision system has 3D representations of the external environment on cockpit displays. even in poor visibility conditions. It also has advanced collision avoidance and proximity systems, mission sensors and an automatic flight control system, which is able to assist the crew during SAR and hoisting in harsh environmental and weather conditions.


The AW139 also features modern predictive maintenance and diagnostics solutions allowing accurate, rapid assessment and data processing on the health and usage of aircraft components. Leonardo explains this allows more efficient maintenance activities increasing operational effectiveness and safety. Both flight and maintenance training are extensively delivered in virtual environments and simulation. Crews can therefore maximize their ability to use equipment and leverage the best performance of the product during missions. Maintenance technicians can leverage virtual training and therefore increasing technical assistance quality and reliability.

The majority of Leonardo helicopters and the largest number of its helicopter types in the product portfolio are assembled at the Vergiate facility. Components from Leonardo’s Centres of Excellence in Italy and abroad (airframes, dynamics, avionics, equipment), in addition to the wider supply chain, are gathered and then enter the production process to build the complete helicopter. This is customized, tested, and delivered to Italian and international customers. A major logistics centre is also based in Vergiate for spare parts storage and management and for technical support assisting Leonardo’s helicopter global fleet, which comprise more than 5,000 units that are used by over 1,200 operators in more than 150 countries.

Over 1,200 AW139s have been sold to more than 280 customers in over 70 countries, including more than 80 for Italian government operators (Air Force, Guardia di Finanza, State Police, Coast Guard, National Firefighting Department and Carabinieri), plus emergency medical service operators.


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