Pakistan has quietly ordered four more AW139 helicopters for SAR (search and rescue) and Medevac (medical evacuation) missions in high altitude areas. The AW139 has demonstrated the ability to operate like that and has been ordered by dozens of nations because of those capabilities. With the continued counter-terror operations in Pakistan it’s no surprise that Pakistan is buying more equipment best suited for use in the high-altitude areas along the Afghan border where there has been the most Islamic terrorist activity. The Pakistan government already uses some AW139s for SAR and Medevac but this latest order is specifically for the military.
AW139 transport helicopters are built by Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland. AW139s cost $20 million and up each depending on accessories and support contracts. These eight ton choppers carry up to 15 passengers and can get by with just one pilot. They have a very large cabin and can hold up to four stretchers, which is one reason it is so popular for medevac. Cruise speed is 288 kilometers an hour and endurance averages 3.2 hours. The AW149, a military version of the AW139, is also available but is more expensive. The AW139 competes with the U.S. UH-60 and another European helicopter, the slightly larger NH90. Entering service in 2003 nearly 800 AW139s have been delivered or are on order.