Slovenia buying six AW139M helicopters from Italy
Slovenia will purchase six AW139M multi-role helicopters from Italy for €188 million under a deal signed by Defence Minister Marjan Šarec and his Italian counterpart Guido Crosetto.
Šarec and Crosetto signed an amendment to the implementing agreement between the two ministries on cooperation in military aviation, "which defines the purchase of additional six Leonardo AW139M multirole helicopters, based on the government-to-government model," the Defence Ministry announced on 28 November.
The helicopters will be used to support the operations of Slovenian Armed Force (SAF) units and the protection and rescue system.
The total value of the deal is €188.34 million excluding VAT. The figure includes the cost of certification by the Italian Military Aviation Authority. The annual project management costs of the Italian Ministry of Defence amount to €425,449, according to the ministry.
The acquisition will provide the SAF with "a state-of-the-art helicopter built to the latest safety standards. The helicopter is very powerful, fast and spacious, with room for up to 15 passengers," the ministry said.
All helicopters will have the possibility to mount a medical evacuation module, which will be custom-made to fit the instruments and equipment of medical teams.
"The AW139M is well suited to search and rescue tasks, which for us also include mountain rescue. At the same time, it is also useful for firefighting, capable of dropping up to 2000 litres at a time," the ministry said in a press release.
In September Šarec and Crosetto signed a deal under which Slovenia will purchase a second C-27J Spartan transport aircraft from Italy. The first such aircraft, bought two years ago, is due to arrive in Slovenia in December.
The ministry said the latest investment will support the development and modernisation of the SAF in light of contemporary security challenges, including those in the field of military aviation.