AgustaWestland, July 15, 2014 - AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust (KSSAAT) has selected the new generation AW169 twin-engine light intermediate helicopter to perform emergency medical service missions. The aircraft will be operated by Specialist Aviation Services (SAS) for the KSSAAT.
KSSAAT, a prime HEMS provider and the first, and presently only, air ambulance in the UK to fly 24/7 throughout the year, will be the first HEMS customer to introduce the AW169 into service in the UK in autumn 2015. The AW169 was selected following an extensive evaluation process of several competing types by the Charity. The AW169 was selected for its class leading characteristics, superior mission capabilities and safety features, which will deliver increased mission effectiveness in its daily life-saving duties. This contract will continue the success already achieved by the AW169 in the UK helicopter market which includes Specialist Aviation Services’ order for six aircraft in 2012.
Henk Schaeken, Managing Director, Specialist Aviation Services (SAS) said “We selected the AW169 two years ago at the previous Farnborough International Air Show, as it offered the best capabilities and performance in its class and we felt that it could greatly enhance the operations of our customers. We underlined this belief by taking orders and options on six aircraft.
He added “The decision by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust supports our early commitment to the AW169, and strengthens the long-standing and excellent relationship between our organisations. We are engaging with KSSAAT in defining the final aircraft configuration and medical fit, which will be designed to meet their requirements and expand the medical capabilities they bring to the incident scene.”
Adrian Bell, CEO Kent, Surrey &Sussex Air Ambulance said ”KSSAAT has been operating a 24/7 Emergency Medical Service for over a year now and has learned considerably from nine months plus of full night flying operations. One very clear, but not unexpected lesson is that we need to replace one of our older MD902 aircraft and increase our overall aviation capability for the longer term benefit of our patients. We have therefore undertaken an exhaustive review of all relevant aircraft types and the AW169 is the only helicopter that fully meets our increasingly demanding clinical and operational requirements.”
He went on to say “We are in no doubt whatsoever that the AW169 is the right aircraft to give us the resilient, sustainable, safe and effective capabilities so vital for our service and we therefore look forward to working with Specialist Aviation Services and AgustaWestland to bring this emergency medical helicopter into service next autumn as the launch customer in the UK. Our decision to select the AW169 is based on the aircraft performance, inherent safety features, payload, cabin size and design, and its many advanced features which will allow us to change the way we operate in a manner that will greatly benefit the patients we carry.”
A versatile, new generation twin engine light intermediate category helicopter, the 4.5 tonne AW169 has been designed in response to the growing market demand for an aircraft that delivers high performance, meets all the latest safety standards and has multi-role capabilities. The AW169 incorporates several new technology features in the rotor system, engines, avionics, transmission and electric power generation and distribution systems. The AW169 is part of the AgustaWestland family of new generation helicopters that includes the AW139 and AW189 models, which possess the same high performance flight characteristics and safety features as well as sharing a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance/training concept. This commonality will allow more effective operations for customers operating helicopter fleets across the 4 to 8.5 tonne categories.
Over 120 AW169 helicopters have now been ordered by customers around the world for a wide range of applications including air ambulance, law enforcement, corporate & VIP transport, offshore transport and utility roles.
The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust is an independent charitable healthcare provider registered with the Care Quality Commission. The Charity operates two helicopters and medical teams by day and one helicopter and team by night; it relies almost entirely on public donation as it receives no government funding. KSSAAT attends the most severely sick and injured patients across the South East region and responds to approximately 2,500 call-outs per year.
KSSAA is one of 18 independent charitable Air Ambulance operators in England and Wales.
The Specialist Aviation Services Group comprises Police Aviation Services and Medical Aviation Services and European Support Center in Belgium. The Gloucestershire, UK based group supports public service and other specialist operations - providing aircraft, pilots, maintenance, modifications and training around the world. Amongst over 36 aircraft of various types which SAS operates or maintains, there are 22 air ambulances and 13 police helicopters.