CHC Helicopter Australia announced that it secured a new 12-year contract with the Department Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) of Western Australia to provide 24/7 emergency rescue helicopter operations.
CHC said in a statement that the new contract includes the provision of three new Leonardo AW139s, built to DFES specification. The company will transition personnel and aircraft from Bell 412s to AW139s, as all aircraft arrive by the end of 2023.
The new fleet will replace some helicopters from the state department’s search and rescue team that have been running for almost 28 years.
“CHC has a longstanding relationship with DFES, serving the people of WA for almost two decades,” CHC Helicopter president and chief executive David Balevic said in a statement. “Their decision to continue working with CHC is testament to the hard work, dedication and outstanding safety standards.”
According to CHC, the new AW139s, which are built in Italy, will have a 75% increase in range over the current helicopters and be able to cruise 16% faster to reach more regions in Western Australia.
The new aircraft will be equipped with the most advanced sensors, systems and aeromedical equipment of any rescue helicopter in Australia.
The new AW139’s customized interiors will be constructed and installed in Perth, creating local jobs and advancing the WA aerospace industry.