May 30, 2013: Strategy Page
Azerbaijan has ordered ten AW139 helicopters from Britain (Agusta Westland) for $148 million. These are for civilian use and military use. These eight ton choppers carry up to 15 passengers and can get by with just one pilot. Cruise speed is 288 kilometers an hour and endurance averages 3.2 hours. The AW139 competes with the U.S. UH-60 and another European helicopter, the slightly larger NH90.
Azerbaijan is getting several different AW139 variants; four AW139 and two AW189 as navy transports, two AW139s as ambulances, one AW139 for search and rescue and one AW139 for VIP transport. This purchase is the part of a military buildup by the oil rich Turkic nation of Azerbaijan, which has more than doubled its defense budget in the last three years (to nearly $4 billion). Nearly half the budget will be spent to modernize the armed forces. Outside of the defense budget many dual-use items, like these ten helicopters, are also being purchased.