Australia will soon get its first EC135 T2+ helicopter for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The helo successfully performed a 57 minute first flight recently, Airbus Helicopters reported on Monday 26 January. The chopper is part of a planned fleet of modern, twin-engine, rotary-wing aircraft being acquired for the new Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) in Australia.
Under the HATS project, a joint training scheme for both Army and Navy aircrew will utilise some 15 Airbus Helicopters EC135 T2+ trainers, along with EC135 flight simulators and a new flight-deck equipped, sea-going training vessel.
The first aircraft was test flown from the Airbus Helicopters’ production site in Donauwörth, Germany. While the EC135 T2+ is a civil design helicopter, it has also proved to be a ideal military trainer. With a high-visibility glass cockpit, multi-axis auto-pilot and the performance and safety of a twin-engine helicopter replacing current single-engine types, it is similar to the multi-role and combat helicopters now in service Down Under- including new-generation Tigers and NH90s.
Initial Operating Capability (IOC) is scheduled for late 2018 although students will begin arriving earlier. The HATS system will eventually accommodate up to 130 students a year.
Source: Airbus Helicopters