Victorian Police AW139 multi mission helicopter delivery.

Faced with increasing operational demands, a changing threat profile and a desire for high availability and reliability, Victoria Police went to market with an unprecedented list of mandatory requirements for the new Air Wing capability. Working closely with the OEM and our core technical partner HeliMods, StarFlight’s innovative and commercially flexible solution achieved the highly complex requirements, with all the capability delivered on time, whilst also achieving the value-for-money target.
StarFlight, together with HeliMods, worked to understand the end-user requirements and the operational context from the outset and collaborated to define the optimal aircraft factory specification. StarFlight then oversaw procurement of the three new AW139 aircraft from the Leonardo Helicopters factory in Italy and successfully delivered the aircraft to Australia for subsequent missionisation.

The Function and Performance Specification (FPS) provided by Victoria Police comprised a very detailed set of end-user requirements, requiring a high level of systems engineering rigour. The FPS was refined through a comprehensive and collaborative design review process, culminating in a Final Design Review (FDR) in August 2019, where the configuration baseline of the aircraft was set, and detailed design on the mission system commenced.

The three aircraft were inspected at the Leonardo factory in Italy in November 2019 by a cross-functional team made up of StarFlight, HeliMods and Victoria Police specialists, where pre-modification factory acceptance testing was successfully conducted. The aircraft were then sea freighted to Brisbane, Australia, arriving in February 2020. Concurrently, Pilot Type training was completed for a cadre of 14 Victorian Police Air Wing pilots at the LifeFlight Training Academy utilizing the LifeFlight Full Flight Mission Simulator in Brisbane, Queensland. Initial Tactical Flight Officer mission system element training for 8 Tactical Flight Officer Instructors was also completed during this period, with all training finalised in early 2020.

Upon arrival in Brisbane, the aircraft were road freighted to HeliMods’ facility in Caloundra, Queensland where detailed modification activities commenced.

HeliMods leveraged its advanced digital design tools and systems engineering approach to develop the mission system solution, compliant to end-user and Part 29 Transport Category Rotorcraft certification requirements. This resulted in the achievement of 6 Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approved Supplemental Type Certificated (STC) designs for Cabin Configurations, Utility Floor, Storage System, Tactical Mission System, Cabin Workstation and External Load Quick Release System.

The rapid solution development capabilities of HeliMods and collaborative process with StarFlight were key enablers to the on-time and on-budget delivery of the airframes, even keeping pace during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Aircraft one (VH-PVO) was progressed as a lead aircraft to refine the designs and installations prior to the fleet-wide implementation on VH-PVQ and VH-PVR. VH-PVO underwent a comprehensive ground and flight test campaign in coordination with CASA in order to show compliance to the Part 29 design standard and Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. Having completed a successful test campaign, the modifications were incorporated into VH-PVQ and VH-PVR in just six weeks.

Ultimately, StarFlight program management and a proactive teaming approach enabled delivery of VH-PVO to the Victorian Police in June 2020. This allowed the Victorian Police to commence operational training ahead of the subsequent delivery of VH-PVQ and VH-PVR in July 2020.

Aircraft operations have now commenced for the Victoria Police Air Wing. StarFlight, along with its partners, are proud to support the operations and aircraft throughout the next ten years.

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“When the State of Victoria went to market for new Police Air-Wing capability, the StarFlight approach set them apart from the competition. Importantly, it was clear to me that they were absolutely committed to putting forward the best available solutions that would give the customer exactly what they wanted. The program as delivered included a range of significant and complex modifications that were essential to the capability but were not available from factory.

We were able to work with StarFlight in a highly collaborative way that could leverage each organisations’ unique strengths, delivering project outcomes that have now redefined what is possible in the aerial policing and tactical mission space. We are certainly proud to have worked together with StarFlight to deliver on this important, world class capability to the State of Victoria.”

Will Shrapnel – Managing Director, HeliMods