By By Andrew Drwiega, International Bureau Chief | September 9, 2014
The Maltese armed forces (AFM) have taken delivery of their first AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter destined for maritime border control missions.
At the acceptance ceremony, Maltese Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia praised the aircraft and said that it was the first time the AFM had a night capable rotorcraft. The purchase of the AW139 helicopters forms part of the medium to long-term equipment plan for the AFM and represents the first brand new helicopter to be purchased by the military in its history.
The contract for the first AW139 also included tools, ground support equipment and training for aircrew and ground maintainers. The equipment package includes a high definition FLIR, search and weather radar, satellite communications and 4-axis autopilot with Search & Rescue (SAR) modes. There is also an external hoist and floatation system. The AW139s will be kept in a new hangar also financed through EU border funds.
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