Airbus Helicopters has completed on-time deliveries to Boeing Defence Australia of the last six of 15 EC135T2+ aircraft for the Australian Defence Force’s Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS).
Provided and managed by prime contractor Boeing Defence Australia, the continent’s new helicopter training programme is for army and navy aircrew. In addition to the 15 EC135T2+ helicopters, the Air 9000 Phase 7 project also called for three Thales EC135 Reality H Full Flight Simulators (FFS). The flight simulators and helicopters are equipped with the Thales Meghas cockpit avionics suite all being supplied by Thales Australia.
A member of the H135 family of light twin-engine helicopters, the EC135T2+ is a military training helicopter, at least 50% heavier and faster than the two types of training helicopters it is replacing: the Army’s 19 50-year old Bell B206 Kiowas and the Navy’s 14 30-year old Airbus Helicopters AS350 Squirrels. The glass cockpit with high visibility, multi-axis auto-pilot, electronic flight and navigation systems and the autopilot ensure pilots will be trained to manage a high level of automation before moving on to their more complex operational rotorcraft, which was not the case training with the Kiowas and Squirrels.
“Following contract signature in November of 2014, and in the space of only two years, we have trained the initial cadre of Boeing and Commonwealth aircrew and technicians and all 15 aircraft have now been accepted,” said Peter Harris, Head of Airbus Helicopters Governmental Sales for Australia – Pacific.
“Boeing Defence Australia chose the EC135 as our preferred helicopter solution for HATS; it’s a proven and reliable platform. We have been delighted with the cooperation from Airbus Helicopters to deliver these platforms that will form an important part of a world class training system,” said Boeing’s HATS director, Terry Nichols.