The Italian Air Force has taken the delivery of a new HH-139B twin-engine helicopter, Leonardo has announced.

The helicopter is a tailored version of the AW139 platform and was delivered from the company’s Vergiate facility. This is the first of the 17 HH-139Bs to be delivered by next year.

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.

The 15th Wing of the Italian Air Force, which is responsible for search and rescue (SAR) duties, will operate the helicopter.

The wing will also support the nation’s disaster relief operations.

HH-139Bs will carry out different missions such as SAR, fire-fighting and Slow Mover Intercept. The helicopters will join the current fleet of 13 multirole HH-139As and four VH-139As.

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

In line with mission requirements, each aircraft can be reconfigured rapidly to conduct operations ranging from SAR to MEDEVAC or firefighting.

Leonardo said that the helicopters will be distributed in multiple bases to provided extended coverage area and ‘ensure the greatest level of responsiveness and effectiveness’.

In a statement, the company said that the airforce’s increasing HH-139 fleet size ‘benefits from unique logistical, operational and technical, certification and training commonalities and synergies across the growing AW139 fleets of government and public service operators in Italy’.

In October, the Italian Air Force officially took delivery of the final Eurofighter Typhoon during a ceremony held at Leonardo’s plant in Caselle (Turin) in north-western Italy.