Originally announced at the Farnborough Air Show on 8 Sep 1998, as a joint venture between Agusta and Bell; to complement the Bell 412
. A full-scale mockup was revealed at the Paris Air Show on 12 June 1999. The first pre-production airframe flew on 3 Feb 2001, followed by the second on 4 Jun 2001 and the third on 22 Oct 2001. Production versions began in Nov 2001. Bell withdrew from the AB139 venture in Nov 2005.
The AW139 is a medium, twin-engined, multi-role helicopter, having a 5 bladed main rotor driven by 2x 1679 shp Pratt & Whitney PT6C-67C turboshaft engines with FADEC software control. A fixed tailplane under a starboard mounted, canted 4 blade tail rotor, provides lateral stability and the main hull is supported by a tricycle undercarriage.
The first 52 aircraft were built by Agusta as the AB.139
. Aircraft from 31201 are from long nose
variant with increased room for avionics.
AgustaWestland has a production line in Philadelphia, USA known as Agusta Aerospace Corporation A.A.C.
with airframes C/N beginning with 41
Since 2012 the AW139 is also assembled and delivered by the HeliVert
plant located in Tomilino, near Moscow.
As of November 2012, 180 customers from more than 50 countries have ordered nearly 660 AW139.