Leonardo has handed over a new HH-139B twin-engine helicopter to the Italian Air Force during an acceptance ceremony at its facility in Vergiate, Italy.

The helicopter is a tailored version of the AW139 platform and was delivered from the company’s Vergiate facility.

It is part of the 17 HH-139Bs that are to be delivered by this year.

In December last year, the Italian Air Force took delivery of the first of the 17 HH-139Bs.

The latest HH-139B helicopter acceptance ceremony was attended by Italian Defence Minister, Italian Air Force Chief of Staff, and other officials from Leonardo.

Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini said: “National sovereignty, from a military and technological point of view, is preserved today also thanks to this level of excellence and to the synergies among institutions, defence and industry.

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“Italy has prime industrial capabilities and Leonardo symbolises a nation, which can leverage a top world-class aerospace, defence and security industry.”

Delivery of the aircraft is expected to boost the Italian Air Force’s multirole capabilities to support the emergency response and security needs across the country.

HH-139Bs are designed to perform different missions such as search and rescue (SAR), fire-fighting and slow mover intercept.

The helicopters will join the current fleet of 13 multirole HH-139As and four VH-139As.

The 7t HH-139B variant features new electro-optics, radar, a rescue hoist and a mission console in the cabin.

Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo said: “We are proud to provide our capability so that the Italian Air Force’s major duties such as supporting the national community and homeland security are guaranteed.

“The HH-139B is an iconic product fully representative of national industry’s technology excellence and international competitiveness.”

Leonardo’s Vergiate facility is the company’s largest helicopter final assembly line. Most of the company’s helicopters are manufactured and assembled at this facility.

Leonardo’s global fleet of helicopters includes more than 5,000 units that are operated by over 1,200 customers in 150 nations.