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First Maryland State Police AW139 helicopters delivered

The Maryland State Police Aviation Command has taken delivery of the first two of 10 AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters that will replace its existing fleet of 11 aging Eurocopter Dauphins.

The first two AW139s were delivered to the Aviation Command at the Martin State Airport in Baltimore, Md. on Tuesday, with additional helicopters expected to arrive throughout the week. According to the Aviation Command, the helicopters have passed all required inspections and certifications, and Aviation Command personnel will immediately begin training on the new aircraft to familiarize themselves with the helicopters’ aerial and medical capabilities.

The Aviation Command said the new helicopters will be deployed to one of seven helicopter sections at a time. The first of the new aircraft is not expected to be flying actual medevacs and law enforcement missions until late spring or early summer.  

Maryland’s $121.7 million contract with AgustaWestland for the 10 AW139s was approved amid some controversy in 2010. The Aviation Command, which suffered a fatal Dauphin crash during a medevac mission in September 2008, has justified the large purchase by arguing that the AW139s’ increased performance and modern technology will improve the safety of its public-service missions.

At an unveiling ceremony for the first AW139 in October 2012, Secretary of State Police Col. Marcus Brown said, “This new helicopter, and the others that will follow, represent an incredible improvement to public safety capabilities in Maryland. They will provide a safer aircraft for our crews, with more room and equipment for our flight paramedics to care for the injured. I thank Governor [Martin] O’Malley who, with the support of the General Assembly, fulfilled his promise to the State Police, our public safety partners, and to the people of Maryland.”

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