Cougar Helicopters has taken delivery of an AgustaWestland AW139 medium-twin helicopter. The 12-seat-configured helo will be operated for offshore transport missions in the Gulf of Mexico. Cougar is a division of the VIH Aviation Group, which uses its helicopter fleet for forestry, air ambulance service, offshore oil and gas personnel transport, mining exploration and aerial construction.
Finland’s Border Guard has ordered a 4th AgustaWestland AW119Ke as part of an ongoing fleet modernization and enhancement program. The 4 helicopters will be employed for border patrol, special operations, maritime search-and-rescue and firefighting. The first 3 of the AW119s ordered will enter service late this year and will operate from bases in Helsinki and Rovaniemi (on the Arctic Circle). Training and support are included as part of the contract. The helos will be fitted with dedicated tactical equipment and certified to perform missions using night vision goggles.
Switzerland’s Air Force has taken delivery of its 20th and final Eurocopter EC635. The contract for the Light Transport and Training Program called for 18 EC635 transport and training helicopters, plus 2 EC135s for the federal air transport service. The first 4 aircraft were manufactured at Eurocopter’s Donauwörth plant, while final assembly of the remaining 16 EC635s took place at RUAG Aerospace in Alpnach, Switzerland. RUAG will handle support and maintenance for the Swiss Air Force EC635/135s. The EC635, which entered service in 2001, is the military version of the light twin-engine EC135. The EC635/EC135s are replacing the Swiss Air Force’s fleet of Sud Aviation Alouette IIIs.
EADS North America has delivered 4 UH72A Lakota light utility helicopters to the Alabama National Guard. Based at Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF) Birmingham, the unit’s missions include aerial command, control and reconnaissance for homeland security operations. The UH72 entered operational service with the US Army in early 2007. A total of 345 are expected to be acquired through 2015.
Brazilian Army Aviation has signed a contract with Helibras and Turbomeca do Brasil to upgrade its fleet of 34 AS365K Panthers. Under the deal Turbomeca do Brasil will also provide full support for the 68 Arriel 2C2 CG engines. The Arriel 2C2 CG turboshaft (which also powers the US Coast Guard’s Eurocopter HH65Cs) offers a 15% increase in power over the Arriel 1M1 turboshaft that powers the Brazilian Army Panthers. First Arriel 2C2 CG is scheduled for delivery at the end of 2010.