Enstrom delivers first helicopter to JGSDF
Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has delivered the first of a planned 30 TH-480B turbine training helicopters to the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force. The stunning blue and gold helicopter was handed over to JGSDF pilots at Enstrom's Service Center in Japan, JAMCO, during an elaborate handover ceremony attended by JGSDF officials and the Japanese Ministry of Defense.
"This is a great day for Enstrom," said Enstrom Helicopter Corp. President and CEO, Jerry Mullins, who attended the ceremony. "The 480B was originally designed as a training helicopter. To be chosen by a highly regarded organization, such as the JGSDF, is verification of what we started out to do with the aircraft. This is the beginning of a long relationship with the JGSDF and we couldn't be more excited."
For Mitsuo Hattori of Aero Facility Co. Ltd, Enstrom's representative in Japan, it has been a long road up to this point. "Since we won the program 12 months ago, it's been an exciting year. Aero Facility has expanded in size and contracted with Japan's premier maintenance organization, JAMCO, to support the JGSDF. Now that the infrastructure is in place, and the first aircraft is delivered, we can look forward the next 29."
As JGSDF pilot Hiromichi Irifune departed Sendai airport in the TH-480B, with a Kawasaki OH-1 attack helicopter in tow, Mullins commented, "There's no doubt the 480B has been recognized as a great training helicopter. The pilots really like the helicopter and that's the most important thing."
The TH-480B is the JGSDF designation for the Enstrom 480B light turbine helicopter. Enstrom was chosen in a competitive bidding process over two formidable manufacturers in February of 2010 to replace the JGSDF fleet of training helicopters.
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