Portuguese Air Force´s AW101 Fleet Achieves 10,000 Flying Hours
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, congratulates the Portuguese Air Force (PoAF) on achieving the milestone of 10,000 flying hours with its AW101 medium/heavy three engine helicopter fleet whilst performing search and rescue and fishery protection duties. This achievement was celebrated last Friday at Montijo Air Base, where the Portuguese AW101 fleet is based. General Araújo, the Portuguese Air Force’s Chief of Staff, presided over the ceremony in which AgustaWestland, Senior Vice President of International Government Business, Giacomo Saponaro, awarded certificates of achievement to the most experienced pilots and technicians.
Since the delivery of the first of twelve AW101s to the Portuguese Air Force in late 2004, these aircraft dedicated to SAR, Combat SAR and fishery protection roles have performed hundreds of SAR missions saving more than 630 lives. With the largest SAR area of responsibility of any European country the long range and endurance of the AW101 has provided new levels of SAR capability over a large area of the Atlantic Ocean operating from bases on the mainland, Lajes in the Azores and Madeira. The fishery protection variant is equipped with a cabin mission console allowing the operator to control the 360 degree scan radar, Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) camera and the communications suite.
In 2008 AgustaWestland signed a 15 years contract with Locação de Equipamentos de Defesa SA (DEFLOC) for the long term provision of support for the 12 AW101 helicopters operated by the Portuguese Air Force. Under the Full In Service Support (FISS) contract AgustaWestland has taken full responsibility for the second level maintenance of the aircraft as well as the provision of spares, repairs and technical support services. The implementation of FISS has seen flying rates increase and the support services improved to meet the customer’s requirements. The Portuguese Air Force has performed several long range rescues that could only be performed by the AW101 due to its range and endurance capabilities. Additionally Portuguese Air Force AW101s have worked in co-operation with Spanish authorities to conduct several demanding rescues. Over 180 AW101 helicopters have been ordered by customers around the world to perform a wide range of government, public service and military missions. The AW101 has logged well over 200,000 flight hours in service in Portugal, Italy, UK, Denmark, Japan and Canada whilst delivering exceptional performance and high levels of safety.