Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland (AW) has received orders for five AW139s — four from the government of Trinidad and Tobago and one from the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD). The LAFD helicopter will join two AW139s that conduct search and rescue (SAR), aerial firefighting and medevac operations in the city and surrounding areas.
AW will build the LAFD helicopter at its manufacturing plant in Philadelphia, Pa. The company says LAFD chose the AW139 for various reasons, including safety, performance and economics. Battalion Chief Joseph Foley notes that LAFD "can respond faster with increased loads in an aircraft that exceeds current safety standards."
Trinidad and Tobago’s Air Guard (TTAG) will use the four AW139s for various missions, including law enforcement, SAR, disaster relief, surveillance and drug interdiction. Worth around $348 million, the agreement signifies the establishment of the first SAR helicopter unit in the South American island nation off the coast of Venezuela.
AgustaWestland will partner with Bristow Caribbean, UK-based FB Heliservices and Helidex of East Rutherford, N.J. to manage the AW139s. Training will primarily take place in Italy, the UK and the United States. Operations will be carried out from Piarco Intl Airport and from offshore patrol vessels, in partnership with the Coast Guard.