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Augusta Westland AW139 : An exemplary helicopter in modern aviation

The Augusta Westland AW139, an advanced medium-sized twin-engine helicopter, has established itself as a benchmark in the aviation industry. Renowned for its versatility, reliability, and exceptional performance, the AW139 has been widely adopted for various missions, including search and rescue, offshore transport, law enforcement, and VIP transportation. This article delves into the technical specifications, historical background, and key features of the Augusta Westland AW139.


Historical Background


The AW139 was developed by AgustaWestland, now known as Leonardo Helicopters, an Italian aerospace company, in collaboration with Bell Helicopter. The initial concept took shape in the late 1990s, and the first flight of the prototype occurred in February 2001. Subsequently, the AW139 received certification from various aviation authorities, including the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and entered service in 2003.

Technical Specifications

 –        Dimensions:

Length: 16.66 meters (54.6 feet)

Rotor diameter: 13.80 meters (45.3 feet)

Height: 5.17 meters (17 feet)

–        Performance:

Maximum speed: 310 km/h (193 mph)

Range: 1,250 km (777 miles)

Service ceiling: 6,096 meters (20,000 feet)

Maximum takeoff weight: 6,800 kg (14,991 lbs)

–        Powerplant:

Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney PT6C turboshaft engines

Power output: 1,679 shp each

–        Capacity:

Crew: 1-2 pilots

Passengers: Up to 15, depending on configuration

Cabin volume: 8.0 m³ (283 ft³)

Key Features

–        Safety: 

The AW139 incorporates various safety features, including a robust airframe, crash-resistant fuel system, and advanced avionics with terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS).

–        Versatility: 

With its spacious cabin and customizable interior layouts, the AW139 can be configured to accommodate a wide range of mission requirements, from medical evacuation to executive transport.

–        Performance: 

The AW139’s high cruise speed, extended range, and superior hover performance enable it to operate efficiently in both urban and harsh environments.

–        Advanced Avionics: 

Equipped with the latest avionics systems, the AW139 offers enhanced situational awareness, reduced pilot workload, and improved mission capabilities.

–        Accessibility: 

The AW139’s large cabin doors and ample cargo space allow for easy loading anD unloading of passengers, equipment, and supplies.

–        Maintenance: 

The AW139 incorporates a comprehensive health and usage monitoring system (HUMS), facilitating proactive maintenance and reducing downtime.



The AW139 has found widespread application across various sectors. Its adaptability has made it a preferred choice for offshore oil and gas operations, emergency medical services (EMS), search and rescue (SAR) missions, law enforcement, VIP and corporate transport, as well as military roles, including troop transport and utility missions.

 The Augusta Westland AW139 represents a significant milestone in helicopter design, combining advanced technology, superior performance, and remarkable versatility. Its enduring success can be attributed to its exceptional safety features, adaptable configurations, and remarkable performance characteristics. As it continues to evolve and meet the demands of an ever-changing aviation landscape, the AW139 remains a trusted choice for operators worldwide, setting new standards for modern helicopter operations.


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