Airbus Helicopters is showcasing its H135 as a future training helicopter for the US Navy. The twin-engine type is being promoted at the US Navy Fleet Fly-In taking place at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Pensacola, Florida from October 22-26. The event is organised by the Naval Helicopter Association.
Chris Emerson, President of Airbus Helicopters, Inc and Head of the North America region, explained: “Airbus Helicopters is convinced the H135 is the best solution to prepare the next generation of US Navy pilots for decades to come, both technically and economically.” He added: “We look forward to demonstrating why this aircraft is the best solution for the navy’s helicopter training needs.”
Airbus pilots will conduct orientation flights with US Navy pilots and other stakeholders to demonstrate the H135’s capabilities at the October fleet fly-in.
The company highlights the suitability of the H135 for the training task, pointing to its four-axis autopilot and one engine inoperable (OEI) training mode. In a statement, Airbus said: “The FAA instrument flight rules (IFR) certified H135 provides future aviators with an ideal platform for training missions, a critical discriminator for the navy as it trains its pilots over water and in reduced visibility.”
Scott Tumpak, vice president of military programmes at Airbus Helicopters, Inc, added: “As a twin-engine helicopter, the H135 provides a training environment most similar to the navy’s warfighting rotorcraft fleet, creating opportunities for cost and operational efficiencies compared to a single-engine aircraft.”
Airbus already produces the US Army’s primary training helicopter, the twin-engine UH-72A Lakota. Since contract award in 2006, Airbus has delivered 431 examples. The Lakota is also the primary trainer aircraft for the US Navy’s Advanced Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland.
If ordered for the US Navy, H135 trainers will be produced at the company’s facility in Columbus, Mississippi, where the Lakota is manufactured.
“A multi-mission and economical workhorse, the H135 is the right tool to support US Navy initial pilot training. Airbus’ global success in delivering rotary-wing training platforms is recognised worldwide,” Tumpak concluded.