We have taken part in a mission aboard a HH-139A multipurpose combat helicopter

The HH-139A during the firefighting training activity carried out at Decimomannu airbase in 2015. (Photo: Alessandro Caglieri).

…and here some stunning photos of the Italian Air Force HH-139A helicopter as you have never seen it before.

The HH-139A is the military variant of the AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter operating with the Italian Air Force.

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It is a multipurpose chopper equipped with lot of modern equipment, including an integrated NVG-compatible glass cockpit, 4-axis digital Digital AFCS (automatic flight control system) with SAR modes & FMS SAR patterns, weather/search radar, TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) II, FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red), Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS), Digital video recorder, Video downlink, Moving map on flat display, Auto-Deployable ELT (ADELT) and Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS).

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The HH-139A also features a secure communications suite, integrated defensive aids suite, hoist, search light, wire cutters, nose mounted FLIR, cargo hook, loudspeaker system and emergency floatation gear and any other equipment required to perform “convetional” search and rescue, as well as Combat SAR missions.

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However, it can also do something more.

Along with provisions for two wing-mounted pods for 70 mm unguided rockets the helicopter can be carry a bambi bucket for aerial firefighting activity.

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The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Caglieri had the opportunity to take part in a training flight aboard an Italian Air Force HH-139A belonging to the 15° Stormo (Wing) temporarily deployed to Decimomannu airbase, Sardinia, along with another helicopter of the same type in order to perform SAR duties in place of the local-based AB.212 chopper, grounded by maintenance works.

In this post you can see the stunning pictures he took during the firefighting training mission that provide an interesting insight into the cockpit, instruments and equipment of the HH-139A.

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During the deployment (from Apr. 28 to May 28, 2015), the HH-139As totaled about 50 flight hours during those four crews were qualified on the helicopter in the firefighting role.

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Newsworthy, on May 14, the type was involved in its first ever firefighting mission, when a HH-139A involved in a training flight was diverted to fire a wild-fire in the town of Escalaplano, not far from Cagliari.

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With the HH-139A and the recently delivered HH-101A Caesar, the Italian Air Force has renewed its rotary-wing fleet with modern choppers capable to perform a wide spectrum of missions, from the CSAR (Combat SAR) to the Special Operations support.

Image credit: Alessandro Caglieri


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.