The Australian Army took delivery of its first Leonardo AW139 helicopter under its ‘Plan Corella’ Army Interim Commercial Helicopter (AICH) capability requirement on April 30.
As reported by ADBR last October, the uncapitalised Plan Corella will see up to three AW139s join 5 Aviation Regiment (5Avn) at Townsville to augment the training, non-combat general aviation support, and transport roles of the Airbus MRH 90 Taipans of A and B SQNs. MRH 90 aircraft availability has continued to be an issue for 5Avn in recent years.
“Leasing a helicopter capability is a novel concept for us in Army Aviation,” Director Aviation Capability Management (DACM), Headquarters Forces Command, COL Hayden Archibald said in a statement. “This presents a unique opportunity for our people to operate a modern advanced aircraft that will provide a valuable level of support to the wider Army, ADF, and Australian community as required.”
The AW139s are being leased from Helicorp Pty Ltd which trades as Toll Helicopters. Helicorp/Toll operates at least 10 AW139s and two Bell 412EPs in Australia in transport, aero-medical, and resource support roles. The AIHC AW139s wear Army markings but will remain on the civilian register.