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Pakistan Air Force’s No. 88 Squadron Converts To AW139


Pakistan Air Drive’s No. 88 Squadron Converts To AW139

The Pakistan Air Drive (PAF) introduced that it has formally re-equipped its No. 88 Search & Rescue (SAR) Squadron with the newly procured Leonardo AW139 helicopter.

Based on a report by the state-owned Related Press of Pakistan (APP), the No. 88 was additionally renamed into the ‘No.88 Fight Help Squadron and Superior Helicopter Coaching College’.

The No. 88 Squadron is stationed at Shahbaz Air Base (Jacobabad, Sindh) below Southern Air Command.

Lauding the occasion, the PAF Chief of Air Workers (CAS) Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sohail Aman acknowledged, “PAF, after an in-depth evaluation of the search-and-rescue platforms obtainable worldwide, chosen AW-139 as the best resolution for our necessities.”

The CAS outlined that the AW139 was sought to equip the PAF for nighttime and maritime SAR operations, including that it “will grow to be a stepping stone in attaining extra advanced capabilities” for the PAF helicopter fleet. Along with SAR, the No. 88 will even prepare pilots for flying the AW139.

The PAF – together with the Pakistan Military Aviation Corps (PAA) – chosen the AW139 in 2016, every ordering two (i.e. 4 in complete) for his or her respective SAR and utility/transport necessities. Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Manufacturing’s (MoDP) yearbook for 2015-2016 states that the order was value $79 million US.

Leonardo acknowledged that Pakistan chosen the AW139 as a consequence of its “excellent” hot-and-high efficiency.

Based on Leonardo, the AW139’s trials in Pakistan had concerned having to function in Multan below a temperature of 49°C. This was joined with having to fly over the Karakoram Vary, together with high-altitude take-offs and landings on unprepared surfaces at 16,300 ft.

In February 2017, Leonardo introduced that Pakistan ordered one other batch of AW139, with the corporate stating that the choice “confirms the AW139 as the popular new technology helicopter alternative for alternative of older sorts at the moment in service.”

The AW139 has a passenger capability of 12. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turboshaft engines, the AW139 has a ferry vary of 1,250 km, the service ceiling of 20,000 ft, an endurance of 5 hours, most cruise pace of 306 km/h and cargo hook load capability of two,200 kg.

The PAF has additionally fitted its AW139 with FLIR Techniques Star SAFIRE electro-optical and infrared turrets. It’s unclear if there are different subsystems concerned, although a fight SAR position may point out the presence of built-in countermeasures as effectively.

With the PAF terming the No. 88 because the ‘pioneer squadron of the AW139’ and unit coaching for the kind, it seems that extra AW139s shall be sought, probably by means of incremental batch purchases by means of the long-term. It’s attainable that the AW139 is being slotted to steadily change the Aerospatiale Alouette III utility helicopters, which type the mainstay light-weight SAR helicopter of the PAF (complementing the heavier Mi-171Sh). Likewise, the PAA and the Pakistan Navy additionally function Alouette IIIs, offering Pakistan’s armed forces with a chance to standardize on a next-generation platform.

Transitioning to the AW139 would allow Pakistan to leverage elevated payload, endurance and vary capabilities together with drawing upon current infrastructure to take care of the Pratt & Whitney PT6-series of turboshaft and turboprop engines (already in use in Pakistan by means of different property, such because the Bell 412EP, Grand Caravan EX, King Air 350ER and Authorities of Pakistan AW139s).

With its new helicopter procurement packages, Pakistan has additionally emphasised the necessity for robust hot-and-high efficiency functionality. With the PAA, this has fashioned with the Airbus Helicopters H125M and AW139 within the gentle and medium-weight classes, respectively.

Two PAA H125Ms have been deployed to help the restoration possibility of two mountain climbers on Nanga Parbat in January 2018. The MoDP’s 2015-2016 yearbook states that the PAA ordered 9 new H125Ms for $37 million. The PAA can also be keen to construct an assault element by means of Turkish Aerospace Industries’ (TAI) T129 ATAK, which it chosen in nice half because of its capacity to fly at 14,000 ft.