From Germany to Australia, from Japan to the United States: the light twin-engine platforms H135 and H145 by Airbus Helicopters are used as military training helicopters around the globe. Most recently, the United Kingdom chose both aircraft types for the country’s Military Flying Training System (MFTS), becoming the first country to receive the newly updated H135, featuring the proven avionics solution Helionix®.
Under MFTS, Airbus Helicopters becomes the rotary wing, sole solution provider for Ascent Flight Training, supporting their design and delivery of flight training to the UK Armed Forces. With a projected requirement to train close to 200 helicopter pilots a year, MFTS will cover the comprehensive training needs of the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and British Army including offshore and night time flying.
The H135 for pilot training
In December last year, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) received two H135 models, marking the final delivery of 15 helicopters over the last six years. Selected for the high rate of availability, among other factors, the specially customised TH-135, as it is designated in Japan, has been used for advanced military training missions since 2011, when it replaced the former single-engine fleet.
For a joint Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) for both army and navy pilots, the Australian Defence Force also acquired 15 helicopters of the H135 family. The first, specifically configured for training missions for Australia’s future generations of combat aviators, was delivered in April – with a comprehensive support package – leading the way to delivery of 14 more over the next eight months.
The delivery, made on time and on quality, was lauded by the contractual customer, Boeing Defence Australia and the end-user within the Australian Government. As part of the contract, the first team of Australian flight instructors passed through the Airbus Helicopters Training Academy in Donauwörth in late 2015 to learn about their future training platform.
The UH-72A Lakota for military training
The H145 helicopter has a long history of providing pilot training for military customers. The U.S. Armed Forces have ordered a total of 427 helicopters of the related UH-72A Lakota, also for training missions in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard fleets. In late 2015, the U.S. Army placed another order for twelve aircraft for initial-entry rotary wing training at the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence Fort Rucker, Alabama.
In contrast to their U.S. colleagues, the German Armed Forces rely heavily on the other lightweight twin-engine helicopter by Airbus Helicopters, the H135, for their pilot training. At the International Helicopter Training Centre in Bückeburg, Lower Saxony, 14 helicopters of the H135 family serve as training instruments for all prospective army pilots in Germany, as well as other countries like Austria and Sweden. The fleet has clocked more than 85,000 flight hours since the delivery of the first aircraft in 2000, with an average availability of over 95 percent.