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Additional helicopter orders roll in for Leonardo during Avalon Airshow

Six AW139 helicopters have been ordered for Babcock Australasia, RACQ CQ Rescue, and StarFlight Australia, after deals were made at the Avalon Airshow 2023.

Six AW139 helicopters have been ordered for Babcock Australasia, RACQ CQ Rescue, and StarFlight Australia, after deals were made at the Avalon Airshow 2023.

The Leonardo-produced intermediate twin engine helicopter has already attracted attention with Brisbane company Toll Helicopters adding an additional two aircraft to its fleet to support the Australian Defence Force.

The six most recent helicopters will carry out air medical services, as well as search and rescue missions for Babcock, CQ Rescue, and StarFlight Australia. All six aircraft will be delivered from the Vergiate final assembly line facility in Italy during 2024.


Babcock will deploy its two helicopters in late 2024 to carry out medical services, search and rescue, and inter-hospital patient transport missions on behalf of an undisclosed client.

Babcock aviation and critical services managing director Peter Newington said the new order will bring the total Babcock AW139 fleet to nine and add enhanced capability across its contracts.

“The AW139 aircraft provides increased speed range and operational capability which is essential for the vast distance and challenging terrains across Australia,” he said.

The aircraft will feature tailored equipment such as digital automatic flight control, hover autopilot, collision avoidance, searchlight, and rescue hoist.

The company already operates seven AW139s in Australia on behalf of Air Ambulance Victoria and RACQ CapRescue.

Two AW139 platforms ordered by CQ Rescue will be used for day and night, on-shore and off-shore search and rescue in Mackay, Central Queensland.

CQ Rescue chief executive officer Tim Healee said the aircraft will be equipped with the latest night vision goggle capability, communications, search and weather radar for a service entry date in late 2024.

“The AW139 is one of the most reliable platforms in the industry. The aeromedical service we deliver and type of missions we complete are unique, being very time consuming and over long distances,” he said.

“The AW139s will deliver enormous benefits to our service including new generation avionics, superior performance, proven technology, and exceptional safety features.

“This incredible acquisition of two state-of-the-art aircraft is only possible because of the generous support we receive from our community, our corporate supporters, and the Queensland government.”

The two AW139s ordered by StarFlight will be operated in Queensland for medical transport, search and rescue missions in both on shore and off shore capacities. The new aircraft will feature patient care and search and rescue capability to enter service following required local modification.

StarFlight Australia chief executive officer and director Ashley van de Velde said the new order will bring the total of AW139s operated by the StarFlight and LifeFlight groups to 15.

“StarFlight Australia is pleased to have finalised the purchase of two new AW139 helicopters which will be utilised for future work.

“We already operate a number of these aircraft in our fleet and are constantly impressed with their reliability, quality, and serviceability.

“The features, technology, size, and all-round advanced capabilities [that] the AW139s offer make these aircraft ideal for our requirements. Their versatility and readiness for various configurations also aid us in delivering tailor-made aviation solutions to our clients.”

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