Demanding targets are being met in the build-up to delivery of Airbus Helicopters’ commitment to the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS).
Today, the company has carried out the first flight of the initial UK MFTS aircraft, bringing delivery one step closer.
With 12 UK MFTS aircraft already in production at the company’s site in Donauworth, the programme is meeting the challenging deadlines by delivering key programme events to time including production ramp up and initial ground runs of the first UK MFTS H135, which took place at the end of June.
Airbus Helicopters will deliver 29 H135s and 3, hoist-equipped H145s to the UK MoD. These aircraft will be factory fitted with wire cutters and Safran’s Arrius 2B2Plus and Arriel 2E turbines for the H135 and H145 respectively. The schedule will see early deliveries in the latter part of this year, the majority of aircraft delivered during 2017 and final aircraft in early 2018.
The aircraft will be delivered to the company’s UK headquarters for completion, which will see the aircraft fitted with the final configuration of equipment, including communications, sensor and access equipment to meet the customer’s requirement, before handover to the customer in time to meet the delivery of flight hours for Ascent’s UK MFTS’ training schedule.
The UK MFTS programme will benefit from the latest enhancements available to the H135 and H145 family of aircraft, including lower maintenance burdens, reduced noise levels and intuitive avionics which provide pilot assistance enabling safe full use of the flight envelope.
The benefits of this latest generation aircraft became apparent to the customer and to the end –user when AVM Andy Turner, AOC 22 Gp responsible for flight training across the armed forces, and Paul Livingston, Ascent Flight Training Managing Director, visited the Donauworth site and had their first experience of and H145. After the flight AVM Turner, a helicopter pilot, who had the opportunity to fly the aircraft, said, “There is no doubt that we have a strong, committed, capable and dedicated partner in Airbus Helicopters. The aircraft have a tremendous pedigree with 20 years and 4m flight hours behind them. The innovations are superb, the flight dynamics are excellent, the Helionix instrumentation is incredibly intuitive and the platform will be an excellent lead in to Apache, Chinook, Merlin, Puma and Wildcat”.
Selection for UK MFTS of the H135 and H145, already the aircraft of choice for utility, law enforcement and emergency medical services, reinforces the role of these aircraft as the global reference in military flight training.