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Boeing & Airbus sign deal for HATS EC 135s

written by australianaviation.com.au | November 17, 2014
How the EC 135 T2+ will look in ADF service under the joint Navy/Army HATS program. (Airbus Helicopters)
How the EC 135 T2+ will look in ADF service under the joint Navy/Army HATS program. (Airbus Helicopters)

Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) and Airbus Helicopters have signed a contract for Airbus to provide 15 Airbus EC 135 T2+ helicopters for the ADF’s AIR 9000 Phase 7 helicopter Aircrew Training System.

Announced as the preferred bidder late last year, the Boeing and Thales Australia team signed a contract with the Commonwealth on October 31 to provide 15 EC 135 T2+s, flight simulators and a training vessel to fulfil the contract. The new aircraft will replace Navy Squirrel and Army Kiowa helicopters at a new joint facility to be built at Nowra.

“Airbus Helicopters is very pleased that the Boeing and Thales team has demonstrated its confidence in our product by selecting the EC135 T2+ as their preferred platform, and we are delighted to be supporting them in the development of a new, modern helicopter aircrew training system for the ADF”, Airbus Helicopters’ Head of Sales – Australia Pacific, Peter Harris said in a statement. “The selection of the Airbus Helicopters EC135 T2+ twin-engine, glass cockpit, helicopter is an excellent choice of an ideal training platform, along with the Thales full-motion EC135 flight-simulators.”

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Airbus Helicopters Executive Vice President, Global Business and Services, Dominique Maudet (left) and Boeing Defence Australia Vice President and Managing Director, Kim Gillis. (Airbus Helicopters)
Airbus Helicopters Executive Vice President, Global Business and Services, Dominique Maudet (left) and Boeing Defence Australia Vice President and Managing Director, Kim Gillis. (Airbus Helicopters)

The Airbus statement was accompanied by a mock-up of how the new machines will look in ADF service. Rather than the familiar sea grey of the Squirrels or the camouflage scheme worn by the Kiowas, the new EC 135s will instead wear an attractive high-viz black and yellow scheme.

“This reinforces Boeing as a leading provider of military aviation training in Australia,” said Kim Gillis, BDA’s managing director and vice president in a separate statement. “We will meet the needs of the Australian Defence Force through a balanced program that makes the most of its cadre of instructors supported by flight simulators and computer-based instruction and training aircraft.”

The first of the new machines is expected to be delivered in 2016.

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7 Comments

  • Darren

    says:

    Not sure I like the colours. Maybe it will look better in person. However I do wonder about the dark colour from a training point of view for visibility.

  • Randal McFarlane

    says:

    The colour scheme mimics the UK scheme. Hardly original. Black however is a proven high contrast colour. Canada, New Zealand, UK for example use black. At night, of course, colour doesn’t matter….

  • Chuck

    says:

    N rego only?

  • Steve G

    says:

    Great to see a contract signed…eventually. Remember the Project got First Pass approval in Feb 2006!

  • Nick

    says:

    The N52 is the australian defence registration similar to A25 for blackhawk and A17 for Kiowa etc. the 001 is obviously the build number, this being the first aircraft of aquisition. There are photos circulating at work of this actual aircraft and the print doesn’t do the colour scheme any justice, the black and yellow combination actually looks really nice in the flesh.

  • Derrick

    says:

    The next question is will the army be looking to bring more machines online, the squirrel and the kiowa are both getting long in the tooth and are due for a replacement in the next few years. The EC135 would be a valuable asset to the ADF and would be chepper than the NH90 that is currently in service.

  • Tim

    says:

    derrick, this aircraft IS the replacement for the Squirrel and Kiowa. Of course it will be cheaper than the MRH90 – one is a training helicopter the other is an operational troop lift and maritime support helicopter.. Helicopter numbers are not important, the capability is what counts. A flight sim can deliver the output of 10 aircraft if used properly.

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