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Portugal receives two new Koala helicopters

The FAP now has seven Koala helicopters in its inventory. (Portuguese Air Force)

The Portuguese Air Force (Força Aérea Portuguesa; FAP) has boosted its rotary-wing inventory with two new Leonardo AW119 MkII Koala utility helicopters.

The new aircraft wereofficially received on 22 November at the Maneuver Airfield No1, in Ovar, the FAP said.

The helicopters were delivered from Leonardo Helicopters in Italy, the FAP told Janes.

The two helicopters were acquired as an option placed as part of a contract worth EUR20.49 million (USD22.32 million) signed with Leonardo on 27 December 2017 for five US-delivered AW119 MkII Koala helicopters to replace the SE 3160 Alouette III helicopter.

The 2017 contract for the initial five helicopters also included ground support equipment, spare parts, search-and-rescue (SAR) kitsand training, the FAP said.

The FAP declined to provide the contract signature date and the amount of the contract for these two new helicopters. The acquisition was funded by the European Union.

The initial five helicopters were received between 2019 and 2020 for Squadron 552 ‘Zangões' located at Air Base No 1.

The Maneuver Airfield No 1 is soon scheduled to become the Air Base No 8.

The Portuguese Koala fleet is fielded in a wide range of missions including training, transportation, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), firefighting, reconnaissance, SAR, combat SAR (CSAR), and the transportation of human organs.

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