Panther helicopter

Helibras will hand over the first two upgraded AS365 Panther K2 helicopters to the Brazilian Army Aviation Command (AvEx) later this month.

Featuring increased power, mission capability, and updated avionics, the helicopters are scheduled to be evaluated by AvEx’s various battalions during mission operations.

If prove to be favourable, the trials will enable Airbus Helicopters’ Brazilian subsidiary to continue upgrading the Brazilian Army’s remaining 32 AS365 K Panthers through 2021.

Carried out as part a R$347m ($147.6m) contract, the Panther K2 upgrade is expected to enable Brazilian AS365s to remain operational for another 25 years.

Helibras CEO Eduardo Marson said the upgrade effort enables the company to gain expertise in key technologies offered in high-performance aircraft types.

"The Super Puma and Cougar helicopters are examples of this, and just by introducing a process whereby old parts are replaced by more modern systems, we are able to extend their service life for 25 years at least," Marson said.

"Just by introducing a process where old parts are replaced by more modern systems, we are able to extend their service life for 25 years."

Helibras manufacturing vice-president Richard Marelli said the company’s engineering centre was responsible for the Panther K2’s preliminary and detailed designs for the enhancement.

"As part of the process, a team of engineers and mechanics received on-the-job training at Airbus Helicopters with a view toward specialisation in major operations," Marelli said.

As part of Panther K2 upgrade, the helicopter has been fitted with new Arriel 2C2CG engines that deliver 40% more power, new engine fairings, a new glass cockpit with a four-axis autopilot, new wiring and a cable-cutting device.

Additional equipment include night-vision goggles (NVG), new altimeter and weather radar, advanced navigation and communication radios, as well as a new tail rotor, providing a helicopter with greater range, more speed and reduced pilot workload.

Image: An upgraded AS365 Panther K2 helicopter of the Brazilian Army. Photo: © Helibras/Marcio Jumpei.

Defence Technology