Army’s aviation capability has been enhanced with two Leonardo AW139 helicopters joining the 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville.
CAPTION: A Leonardo AW139 helicopter flown by pilots from the 5th Aviation Regiment at Lavarack Barracks, Townsville. Photo by Corporal Brodie Cross.
The two leased AW139s will be used to support Defence’s major exercises and training, and assist with emergency response activities including during the high-risk weather season.
The helicopters have similar performance to the MRH90 and will be used to support aircrew development and currency requirements when combat aircraft are not available.
The contract with Helicorp Pty Ltd (Toll Helicopters), has met all milestones, with training, aircraft serviceability and flying-hour requirements exceeding expectations.
Commander Army Aviation Command Major General Stephen Jobson said the AW139 contract would ensure Army aircrew were ready for operational tasking.
“The Army interim commercial helicopter capability will provide Army aircrew with flying proficiency and currency training on an advanced digital aircraft,” Major General Jobson said.
“Maintaining these advanced digital cognitive skills is essential for operating complex modern combat helicopters now and into the future.”
The contract for the two leased Leonardo AW139 helicopters covers training, maintenance, logistics and continuing airworthiness support.
The initial contract ends on June 30, 2023, with options for two 12-month extensions.