Islamabad: Pakistan has signed a deal with Italy-based aerospace giant Leonardo-Finmeccanica for purchasing an undisclosed number of helicopters for search and rescue operations.
The contract for the AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters was signed in Islamabad in the presence of Italy’s Ambassador to Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. The Express Tribune reported that the contract is part of a fleet renewal programme spread over several batches and includes a logistic support and training packages.
Deliveries of the AW139 helicopters, which will be used for search and rescue duties, are expected to begin in 2017. Pakistan already operates 11 AW139 helicopters, five of which are used by the government for civil protection and transport tasks.
The AW139 is a 15-seat medium-sized twin-engined helicopter used by some 38 countries in a variety of roles such as law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical services, disaster relief, maritime patrol and fire-fighting.
The aircraft has a service ceiling of around 20,000 feet which allows it to be used for high-altitude rescues.