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Italy completes deliveries of HH-139B CSAR helos

The Italian Air Force received its last HH-139B on 31 January 2022. The first helicopter (shown here) was delivered on 30 November 2020. (Italian Air Force)

The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) has received the last of the 17 Leonardo HH-139B helicopters that it had ordered for combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) duties.

Speaking to Janes on 9 February, an AMI spokesperson said that the 17th helicopter was delivered on 31 January 2022, about 14 months after the first HH-139B helicopter.

“The AMI now operates a fleet of 30 HH-139 helicopters, including 13 HH-139As, which were delivered between 2012 and 2014, and 17 HH-139Bs, which were delivered between November 2020 and January 2022,” the spokesperson said.

Procurement of the new HH-139Bs was approved in December 2019 for a total budget of EUR408 million (USD453 million) including training, documentation, and support. A formal order was then placed in late March 2020 to Leonardo for EUR311.3 million to be spent between 2020 and 2024, including initial support and training services.

The HH-139-series helicopters will operate alongside the service's six HH-101A in the CSAR, medical evacuation, fire-fighting, and slow-mover interceptor roles.

The spokesperson also told Janes that “from March 2022 the AMI will start retrofitting all its HH-139A helicopters to the ‘Bravo' configuration, which features a new double winch, advanced avionics, and onboard sensors”.

The upgrade programme was launched in June 2021 when Leonardo won a EUR61.5 million contract to retrofit the HH-139As to HH-139B configuration between 2022 and 2025.

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