Greece to boost emergency response capabilities with three AW139 helicopters

Rome,  24 May 2024 17:31

Contract signed by the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection for healthcare missions, disaster relief operations and transportation of the crisis management teams  


The Hellenic Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection is enhancing its emergency response capabilities by introducing three Leonardo AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopters. Under the recently signed contract, the new aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2026 with two units dedicated to healthcare missions and disaster relief and one unit to be used for transportation of the crisis management teams. The order also includes a comprehensive technical, logistical support, and training package. The AW139s will be operated by the Fire Brigade on behalf of the Ministry from a base in Attica. 

The selection of the AW139 is further to a thorough and rigorous tendering process, carried out by the Project Preparation Facility of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), demonstrating the best value-for-money offer thanks to the combination of performance, mission capabilities, modern design and versatility. This emergency response helicopter programme was funded through the European Union – NextGenerationEU under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan "Greece 2.0". The programme will enable Greece to enhance the level of effective disaster relief operations across the nation, which face the unique operational challenges posed by the complex topography and environmental conditions of the Hellenic territory that span the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the peaks of Mount Olympus. The selection of the AW139 confirms the Greek Government’s confidence in Leonardo’s rotorcraft technology and capabilities in the broader rescue tasks domain, adding to two AW109 Trekker light twins already in service supporting the national healthcare service. 
The AW139s will feature a flexible and modular cabin layout able to host a mix of up to five passengers and up to two stretchers. The cabin can easily and quickly be converted providing the possibility of up to 14 passengers, if required, for the deployment of the incident management team. 

With over 1400 units on order, more than 1200 units already in service and over 4 million flight hours logged to date with more than 300 operators worldwide in over 90 countries, the AW139 has demonstrated its ability to meet all requirements in every market application such as Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR), Combat SAR (CSAR), Law Enforcement, firefighting, disaster relief, Energy, Corporate - VIP. The AW139 has become the benchmark for Emergency Services Operations. For overall rescue duties (spanning from emergency medical services, disaster relief, maritime and land/mountain SAR, etc), more than 1 million flight hours have been logged nowadays among the almost 500 AW139 helicopters in service, carrying out during day and night emergency response operations in all continents, especially in Northern and Southern Mediterranean countries. In the case of AW139, the interoperability to manage challenging operations in time of crisis has been fully demonstrated several times: Italy’s Air Force, Coast Guard, Guardia di Finanza, Police, Fire Brigade, all of them employing AW139s in their fleets, jointly or collaborating with other nations using the same helicopter model like Spain, Malta and Cyprus. Over 220 Units are in operation in the Mediterranean Area with more than 40 Operators.