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Latest generation helicopter makes African debut

DESCRIBED AS providing capability in all conditions, an example of Italian manufacturer AugustaWestland’s brand new 8,6-tonne AW189 helicopter, designed to answer the growing market demand for a versatile, affordable, multiplatform for search and rescue, MEDEVAC and humanitarian operations, arrived in Durban recently on board a ship from Europe. After being offloaded, clearing formalities and having its rotor blades refitted, the helicopter flew to Gauteng after which it was due to begin demonstrations to an as yet unknown potential customer “somewhere in southern Africa,” but rumoured to be in Namibia or Angola.

With a cruising speed of up to 155 knots, the AW189 has a Vne of 169 knots, a rate of climb of 1 980 feet per minute, a hover ceiling out of ground effect (HOGE) of 8 770 feet and a maximum range with standard tanks of 600 nautical miles.

Its radius of action (ROA) in IFR missions with return fuel, 10% contingency and 30- minute reserves allows it to transport 18 passengers 110 nm; 16 passengers up to 140 nm, or 12 passenger over 200 nm.

latest generation

With cabin seating of up to 19 passengers, or for four stretchers and eight attendants, the AW189 has an overall length of 17,6 metres, an overall height of 5,06 metres and a main rotor diameter of 14,6 metres.

It is powered by two GE CT7-2E1 turboshaft engines each with a power output of 2 000 shp with FADEC. It is capable of carrying an internal load of 8 600 kg or a similar load externally.

Claimed to have superior economics and support, the AW189 is designed to maximise operational capability at minimal cost. Maintenance operations have been minimised by design as have components subject to overhaul and replacement, reducing downtime for flight intensive operations. A worldwide network of service and support centres is already in operation


The AW189 has been specifically designed for long-range search and rescue operations in all weathers including into known icing, with advanced avionics and rapid start-up capability for mission readiness. The auxiliary power unit (APU) allows system functionalities without the need to have the engine running and with rotors stopped, as well as in flight in the case of emergency.

Its excellent visibility and manoeuvrability in windy conditions allow perfect attitude and control during search and hoisting operations.

It can be equipped with a variety of “extras” including single or dual hoists; a searchlight; weather / search radar; SAR modes and patterns; emergency floatation gear for use in Sea State 6 ditching capability; external life rafts etc............................. For the FULL ARTICLE please subscribe to our digital edition.

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