Pakistan has ordered an unspecified number of additional AgustaWestland AW139 twin-engined helicopters, Italian aerospace and defence firm Leonardo-Finmeccanica confirmed on Wednesday.

The order was placed by the Ministry of Defence, Dawn reported.

The helicopters are expected to perform search and rescue and emergency medical service duties in the country.

Deliveries for the helicopters are expected to start from mid-2017, the defence company added.

“The AW139 is the perfect fit to Pakistan’s operational environment, delivering outstanding capabilities with hot and high performance unmatched by any other existing helicopter type in the same class,” said Leonardo.

An agreement was signed and an initial order for the helicopter was placed in May 2016.

The agreement was part of a fleet renewal programme spread over several stages and included a logistics support and training package.

A total of 11 AW139s are already in service in Pakistan, with five aircraft operated for civil protection and transport tasks.