The first Airbus EC135 T2+ helicopter in a planned fleet of modern, twin-engine, rotary-wing aircraft being acquired by the Australian Defense Force (ADF) for its new Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS), has successfully completed its first flight in Europe.
Under the HATS project, a joint training scheme for both Army and Navy aircrew will utilize approximately 15 EC135 T2+ trainers, along with EC135 flight simulators and a new flight-deck equipped, seagoing training vessel.
Photo courtesy Airbus Helicopters, by Charles Abarr
Boeing Defense Australia (BDA) is the prime contractor for the new training system, partnered by Thales Australia, which will provide the flight simulators.
The first EC135 T2+ took off from the Airbus Helicopters’ production site in Donauwörth, Germany - where the helicopter is assembled - on Jan. 16 at 2:37 p.m. Central European Time, and landed back on site 57 minutes later. The Airbus Helicopters Flight Test Department reported the successful first flight had validated the full performance of the aircraft’s systems and engines, and that future flights would test specific customer equipment.
While the EC135 T2+ is a civil design helicopter, it has also proved to be a consummate military trainer. With a high-visibility glass cockpit, multi-axis autopilot and the performance and safety of a twin-engine helicopter replacing current single-engine types, it is similar to the multi-role and combat helicopters now in service with the ADF - including new-generation Tiger ARH and MRH90 helicopters - and meets all training, technical and safety requirements for future Army and Navy aircrews.
Initial Operating Capability (IOC) is scheduled for late 2018, although students will begin arriving earlier. When IOC is fully achieved, the HATS system will accommodate up to 130 students per year covering pilots, aviation warfare officers, aircrewmen, sensor operators and qualified aircrew returning for instructor training.
Related: Military Training News