Italian aerospace company Leonardo has announced a new contract between its wholly-owned subsidiary AugustaWestland and US-based EMS operator Life Link III for two additional air medical transport helicopters.
Life Link III has reportedly agreed to purchase a new AW169 and an AW109 Trekker, for air medical transport missions, with delivery expected to take place in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The agreement marks the first entry of the AW109 Trekker into US EMS operations.
The two new helicopters will see Life Link III with enhanced capabilities for critical in-flight care and patient transfer across the upper-Midwest of the US.
According to Leonardo, the AW169 features a 6.3-cubic-metre cabin that will be fitted with a Federal Aviation Administration-certified EMS interior. The helicopter can travel up to 440 nautical miles, with a top speed of 160 knots and it can climb to 14,500 feet.
Meanwhile, the Trekker has high-end EMS capabilities in terms of its interior, performance, advanced avionics, and safety standards. The twin-engine helicopter is equipped with Night Vision Goggles (NVG), single-pilot instrument flight rules, and a customised interior built to meet Life Link III’s requirements.
This sale will increase Life Link III’s Leonardo helicopters fleet to 14 aircraft and the company will be the first to operate a mixed fleet of AW119 IFR and AW109 Trekker.
Additionally, earlier this year, Life Link III signed for the first IFR-certified AW119 in the civil market.
This aircraft will reportedly enable the company to undertake safer operations in challenging weather conditions, and is expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2021.
The sale also brings the total number of Leonardo’s helicopters in the north-American EMS market to 110 across a fleet of AW119s, AW109s, AW169s and AW139s.
Speaking of the announcement, Lee McCammon, vice president of operations at Life Link III, commented, “The addition of the AW109 Trekker and AW169 will return Life Link III to instrument flight capability and further enhance our ability to deliver safe, fast, and reliable air medical transportation to the communities we serve. Our strong relationship with Leonardo supports our commitment to utilising advanced technology to complete life-saving missions.”
William Hunt, managing director of Leonardo Helicopters in Philadelphia, said, “We are pleased to once again be supporting the vital life-saving missions of our long-standing partner, Life Link III. The AW109 Trekker and AW169 will be great additions to the EMS operator’s fleet and both aircraft with their high-tech capabilities will enable Life Link III to conduct its operations safely and quickly.”