New Type of Medical Helicopter Provides Intensive Care in Transit

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Karolinska University Hospital will be the first in Sweden to have a new type of medical helicopter that can provide the sickest patients with advanced care, even in the air. The helicopter can bring patients from all over the country to Karolinska.

A contract for the operation and delivery of an Agusta Westland 139 (AW 139) helicopter has been signed by the supplier, Babcock, and Karolinska. Karolinska will get access to a temporary helicopter in March, 2022, and at the beginning of 2023, the permanent helicopter will be delivered.

- Karolinska will be the first hospital in Sweden to have this type of helicopter, which is unique, as the on-board staff can provide the sickest patients with on-board medical care in a way that has not been possible until now, such as ECMO care, says Lars Falk, operational manager of Intensive Care and Transport, and continues:

- With the new helicopter, we can reach hospitals faster because we don't have to reload like we do now when flying planes.
Another advantage of the AW 139, which is considerably larger, heavier, and has much more space than a regular ambulance helicopter, is that it is built to withstand very severe weather conditions.

- In addition, it has its own de-icing system that allows it to withstand severe winter weather and storms. All in all, the helicopter basically functions as a flying intensive care unit, says Lars Falk.

HideBabcock Agusta Westland (AW 139)

  • Can fly with a total weight of 7 tonnes
  • Rotor diameter is 13.8 metres
  • Length, 16.7 metres
  • Space for 4 staff and 1 patient on board
  • Extra-large windows for maximum visibility during missions



Karolinska University Hospital

Press Officer 

08-517 740 10

Karolinska is one of Europe's largest university hospitals and together with Karolinska Institutet we have a leading role within the field of medical breakthroughs. Our aim is to always put the patient first by providing the best possible medical expertise, treatment and care. Through innovation and active collaboration with industry and academia, we are committed to being internationally prominent in medicine, research and education.