24 June 2013 by defenceWeb
The Mauritanian Air Force has ordered two AW109 helicopters and the Senegalese Air Force a single AW139 from AgustaWestland, the company has announced.
The contract with Mauritania was signed on June 17 at the Paris Air Show during a ceremony attended by Colonel Hereitani of the Mauritanian Air Force and Geoff Hoon, AgustaWestland’s Managing Director of International Business.
AgustaWestland said the twin-engined AW109 Power helicopters would be used for border patrol and reconnaissance missions, and would be delivered in mid-2014 in a multi-role homeland security configuration.
The contract also includes a comprehensive training and support package that will be delivered both in Italy and on-site to ensure a quick and effective entry into operational service for the aircraft, AgustaWestland added.
Mauritania’s Air Force only flies two other helicopters – Chinese Harbin Z-9As delivered in 2003, according to the Jane’s Information Group.
The Mauritanian Air Force has been growing in recent times, especially in response to Islamic terrorist organisations operating in the region. Four Embraer EMB-312F Tucanos were received from France in 2010 and 2011, while the nation began taking delivery of new Super Tucanos in October 2012.
Also at the Paris Air Show, AgustaWestland announced that it had signed a contract for a single AW139 medium helicopter, which will be operated by the Senegal Air Force. It will most likely be used for VIP transport.
The contract marks the entrance of AgustaWestland helicopters in the regional market, the company said, and includes in-country support services and training for both aircrew and maintainers.
Senegal is also expanding its air force, with the country recently ordering three A-29 Super Tucanos from Embraer. The contract was signed on April 10 this year.
The AW109 Power variant, which can be flown by a single pilot, features a digital glass cockpit with six liquid crystal instrument displays providing the aircrew with flight, systems and mission data. It can cruise at a maximum speed of 285 km/h. Nearly 480 AW109s are in service in around 50 countries, with almost one third of these being operated by government customers.
The AW109’s larger sibling, the AW139, can cruise at 306 km/h over nearly a thousand kilometres. Around 720 have been sold in almost 60 countries to over 200 customers for many roles including VIP/corporate transport, passenger transport, law enforcement, fire fighting, offshore transport, search and rescue, emergency medical services, disaster relief and maritime patrol.