Eurocopter Japan delivers first EC135 training helicopter to Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
Eurocopter Japan handed over today the first EC135T2i training helicopter to the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF).
The delivery ceremony took place at the Tokyo heliport in the presence of the Japan Ministry of Defense and MSDF representatives as well as Defense attachés from the German and French Embassies, manufacturer and air industry community members.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense had signed a contract for two EC135 helicopters in February this year. The first helicopter is delivered on schedule. The second helicopter is planed to be delivered in February 2010.
The helicopter will be instrumented and evaluated by MSDF Test & Evaluation air squadron before effective training starts at the Naval pilot training school by the second half of 2010.
MSDF instructor pilots were dispatched to Eurocopter Deutschland’s training academy in Donauwörth and Manching from September to November, and completed their training to obtain EC135 type rating. MSDF instructor technicians have also completed their training in Germany.
Xavier Poupardin, Eurocopter Vice President for the EC135 program, stated at the ceremony, “We are extremely proud that our helicopters have been chosen by MSDF. This clearly shows the customer’s confidence in our products. We have worked hard to deliver the first helicopter to MSDF on time, only 9 months after the contract signature in February. We will continue to serve our customer for a successful start of operation and for the future helicopter deliveries”.
A second contract for three additional helicopters will follow within a few months with the target of attaining a fleet of 15 training aircraft in total for MSDF.
Tailored for advanced training missions, the EC135 is well adapted for air crews from defense forces operating new generation multi-role or combat helicopters, such as those in Japan. In Europe, countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Spain are already using the EC135 or its military version, the EC635, for the training of their pilots.
This new fleet of EC135 training helicopters will add to the three EC225 VIP helicopters currently flying with Japan Ground Self Defense Force, which entered service two years ago.
Training is made easy on the EC135 helicopter
The EC135 is a modern light twin-engine helicopter in the 3-ton class with a seating capacity of 7 – 8 passengers and doted with a good manoeuvrability, high visibility and low vibration level. Equipped with a glass cockpit and the most advanced technologies, the EC135 allows instructors to perform training missions in optimal safety conditions. It is also simple to maintain and has a low fuel consumption level, which reduces operating and overall training costs.
Thirteen years after making its debut in the market in mid-1996, more than 850 EC135 helicopters have been sold worldwide for a variety of missions ranging from pilot training, law enforcement to Emergency Medical Services (EMS)/Search and Rescue (SAR) and offshore oil and gas industry support. In Japan there are currently 50 EC135s flying for EMS missions (better known as Doctor Heli), news gathering and corporate transport operations.
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