Airbus Helicopters announced this morning that it is offering the light twin Airbus H135 as a candidate for the U.S. Navy’s planned helicopter trainer replacement program. An H135 demonstrator aircraft in Navy trainer markings is on display this week at the 2018 Naval Helicopter Association Symposium in Norfolk, Virginia.
“The H135 is a market-leading twin-engine, multi-mission helicopter performing the primary training mission for some of the finest militaries in the world,” said Chris Emerson, president of Airbus Helicopters and head of the North America region. “As a twin-engine helicopter, the H135 provides a training environment most similar to the Navy’s warfighting rotorcraft fleet, creating opportunities for cost and operational synergies compared to a single-engine trainer.”
Airbus already provides its UH-72A Lakota, a military variant of the EC145 twin, to the U.S. Army as a primary training aircraft. The smaller H135 features a glass cockpit with the Helionix avionics system, a crash-resistant fuel system, energy-absorbing seats, fuselage and landing gear, and the fenestron tail rotor system. The H135 is currently used as a training aircraft by 13 countries worldwide. The global H135 fleet has accumulated more than 4.5 million flight hours and the H135’s operational training readiness has consistently averaged greater than 90 percent, according to Airbus. The UH-72A, the EC145E, and the H125 are all currently assembled at the Airbus Helicopters facility in Columbus, Mississippi. An Airbus Helicopters spokesman said a decision about where to assemble the H135 would be made “once a decision is made by the U.S. Navy."