Airbus completes factory acceptance for ADF’s first HATS helicopter
Airbus Helicopters has completed factory acceptance of the first of 15 EC135 T2+ helicopters for the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) JP 9000 Phase 7 Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) project.
The project envisions development of a new joint helicopter training system for both the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Navy, using the EC135 T2+ helicopters.
Boeing Defence Australia is the prime contractor for the programme, which also covers the delivery of flight simulators and a new flight-deck equipped sea-going training vessel.
Australia Pacific Governmental Sales head Peter Harris said: "Airbus Helicopters is thrilled that Boeing and the Commonwealth of Australia have demonstrated their confidence in our product by accepting this first EC135 T2+, on time and on budget, as part of a world leading high tech helicopter aircrew training system for the ADF.
"Following contract signature in November of 2014, the first aircraft took to the skies on the 16th of January 2015, and is now accepted by the customer.
"The next steps involve training of initial Boeing and Commonwealth aircrews and technicians here in Donauworth, before shipment to Australia in January 2016."
Designated as HATS01, the helicopter underwent engineering evaluations and ground and flight test activities throughout this year.
Boeing HATS programme manager James Heading said: "By partnering with Airbus Helicopters on this important programme, Boeing Defence Australia is confident of meeting our requirements towards the Commonwealth for providing a mature and cost effective platform that meets training, technical, and safety requirements, and the future needs of the Australian Defence Force."
A part of the H135 family, the EC135 T2+ is a consummate military training helicopter featuring a glass cockpit with high-visibility, a multi-axis auto-pilot, and advanced technologies to help instructors perform training missions safely and also offers ADF the flexibility to undertake additional missions.
To date, Airbus has delivered more than 1,200 H135 helicopters, which form part of training systems in Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Japan, and are also in service in Australia with the Victorian and New South Wales police forces.
Image: The EC135 T2+helicopter is part of the Airbus H135 rotorcraft family. Photo: © Copyright Airbus Helicopters.