Airbus H135. (Jonny Carroll/Airbus Helicopters)
The Brazilian Navy has ordered three H135 light twin-engine helicopters to be operated by the 1st General Purpose Helicopter Squadron (HU-1). The aircraft will perform a wide range of missions including special operations, transport of troops and freight, naval inspection, search and rescue and medical evacuation.
The aircraft, which will replace the current light twin-engine AS355s, could also carry out missions in the frame of the Brazilian Antarctic Program in the near future. Formed in 1982, Brazil’s robust Antarctic research agency maintains a year-round outpost, Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station, which was mostly destroyed by a fire in 2012 and expected to reopen in March 2019.
The contract includes a comprehensive HCare support and services package, which will guarantee the highest levels of availability for this fleet.
“We are extremely happy to sign this contract, which consolidates and extends the partnership we have had for over 40 years with the Brazilian Navy, our very first customer in the country,” said Richard Marelli, Helibras President and Airbus Head of Country in Brazil. “The H135’s low operating costs and excellent availability rate make it the ideal helicopter to fulfil the Navy’s challenging missions and needs.”
Airbus is also offering the H135 as a replacement for the U.S. Navy’s fleet of TH-57 training helicopters.
To date, more than 1,280 helicopters of the H135 family are in operation around the globe, having flown 4.9 million flight hours.