Leonardo today announced a Latvian order for two additional helicopters for the Aviation Support Unit of its State Border Guard (Valsts Robežsardze).
The two single-engine AW119Kx helicopters will be delivered in 2019 and will join a pair of AW109E Powers that were delivered in late September 2007. The new rotorcraft will perform search and rescue (SAR), transport, firefighting and disaster relief missions.
The latest contract also includes an option for an additional unit in customised configuration and aircrew/maintenance technician training services.
The aircraft will be delivered from the company’s facility in Philadelphia and will replace two ageing AB206B JetRanger IIs that were transferred to Latvia from the Finnish Border Guard in 2013 (two further JetRangers are currently in storage).
The AW119Kx was chosen following a thorough assessment of competing types within the framework of the Ministry of the Interior’s helicopter fleet modernisation programme.
The retirement of the JetRangers will leave the State Border Guard with an all-Leonardo fleet.
The Aviation Support Unit is based at Skulte-Riga International Airport and comes under the jurisdiction of the Latvian Ministry of Interior, which is headquartered in the capital, Riga.