Earlier this morning, members of MAR visited the Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta to witness the departure of an Aeronautica Militare Agusta-Westland HH-139B ‘MM81991’ assigned to 82° Centro CSAR of the 15° Stormo ‘Stefano Cagna’ stationed at Trapani Air Base in Sicily. This visit was organised by the Malta Aviation Society, to whom we are grateful for giving us a chance to meet with the crew, exchange pleasantries, and also see it depart, showing off in style with a spectacular flypast on top of all those present.
The HH-139 arrived at Luqa last Monday to participate in a training exercise with the Armed Forces of Malta. While the aircraft was in Malta, the aicraft performed a flypast at Marsamxett Harbour since the 2nd June marks the National Day and Republic Day of Italy. Hence the crew of the HH-139 made a flypast over the Italian Ambassador’s residence in Ta’ Xbiex.
In December, 2020 the Italian Air Force took delivery of the first of 17 HH-139Bs. The HH-139Bs perform a range of missions including SAR, fire-fighting, and Slow Mover Intercept, and joined an existing fleet of 13 multirole HH-139As and four VH-139As, the latter are used for government transport missions. Compared to the HH-139A, the 7-tonne HH-139B variant features, among others, new electro-optics, new radar, a new rescue hoist and a mission console in the cabin. Core avionics will feature Phase 8 software release allowing even more advanced and safer all-weather navigation and mission capabilities. The HH-139 helicopters will serve as an interim solution to replace the ageing HH-212 and already retired HH-3F helicopters role of search and rescue (SAR) operations across the nation.