The Vietnam Coast Guard is about to buy a new shipborne maritime helicopter, and everything points in favour of the Kamov Ka-27 which is internationally marketed by Russian state-owned company Russian Helicopters.
The Cảnh sát biển Việt Nam (Vietnam Coast Guard) wants to enlarge the working radius of its four DN 2000-class patrol ships, a 2,500 ton and 90 metres (297 feet) long vessel with aft helideck. The class is based on a design owned by Dutch Damen Shipyards, but the ships are being build in Hai Phong, Vietnam. The first ship of the class, CBS-8001, is already operational.
To make its range of 5,000 nautical miles and its speed of 21 knots more efficient, the Ministry of Defence wants to add a rotary wing element to the patrol ship. Ha Noi admitted recently to have shortlisted the helicopter wish list to the Kamov Ka-27 and the Airbus Helicopters AS 565 Panther, but experts close to the process think the Russian chopper will go through based on purchase and operating costs.
A change could be reached if the Airbus Helicopters teams up with its sister fixed-wing production company for a stronger financial deal, since the Vietnam Coast Guard might wish for more C.212-400s maritime patrol aircraft. Those are built by the former CASA factory in Spain, currently part of Airbus. The Cảnh sát biển Việt Nam already operates three of these C.212s equipped with a Swedish mission suite.
UPDATED 28 November 2014 | Officially commissioned on 28 November 2014, it is the largest ship ever built for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and it is sporting an interesting ski-jump. Will we see Harriers or F-35B Lightning IIs operate from the brand new HMAS Canberra?
Likely, but not flying in Royal Australian Navy (RAN) or Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) service … for the time being. The official roles of the new ADF Landing Helicopter Dock ships include “to embark, transport and deploy a military force. In case of the ADF it will be the Army, but it could equally be an allied Army or Marines Corps”.
Hello US Marines and British Royal Navy/Royal Marines F-35s! The short take-off and vertical landing fighter jets ordered by the two services would make excellent fighter coverage for any naval combat force with the HMAS Canberra or its future sister ship HMAS Adelaide as its centrepiece. Or it might host other navy’s Harrier jump jets, like the EAV-8B Matador IIs of 9a Escuadrilla Aeronaves that can deploy on the SPS L61 Juan Carlos I. The Australian Canberra-class LHDs are based on this Spanish design.
But things are looking good for a RAAF/RAN F-35 force on board the HMAS Canberra. “The Government is considering buying the “B” model of the F-35, the variant to operate from aircraft carriers”, Australian Defence Minister David Johnston more or less told the newspaper The Weekend West in the beginning of May 2014. Other sources confirmed the stealthy Lightning II has been considered for the two new LHDs from the very first day the Australian government ordered the vessels.
Rotary wing fleet
The Canberra’s flight deck is 202.3 m (663 feet) long and 32 m (105 feet) wide with six landing spots, primarily designed to accommodate the ADF’s rotary wing fleet. It allows simultaneous take off and landing operations of six medium-sized helicopters like the MRH90 Taipan, S-70B-2 Black Hawk, the new MH-60R Seahawk, or four simultaneous take off and landings of the larger CH-47D/F Chinooks in Royal Australian Army service. There are two aircraft elevators – one aft of the flight deck and one forward of the island on the starboard side – that can accommodate medium sized helicopters, with the after one able to accommodate the larger Chinooks.
Between the flight deck and the accommodation deck is a contiguous hangar and light vehicle deck. The hanger (aft) can accommodate up to 8 medium sized helicopters with 18 medium sized helicopters able to be accommodated if the light vehicle deck (front) is also used. Accommodation is provided for 1400 personnel, of which 400 are the ship’s own company. The LHD will be jointly crewed with personnel from Navy, Army and the Air Force.
Untill (foreign) Harriers or F-35s are admitted during operations, the biggest aerial combat power on the Canberra and Adelaide will come from embarked ARH-Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter, of which 22 operate with the RAA’s 1st Aviation Regiment in Darwin. Getting the two LHDs out at sea has put Australia back in a more strategic maritime role, after the last aircraft carrier of the nation – HMAS Melbourne – was decommissioned in 1982.
The Brazilian Army Aviation Command (Comando de Aviação do Exército) receives the first two upgraded Eurocopter/Helibras AS565 AA/HM-1 Pantera K2 helicopters this month, Helibras confirmed on 12 March 2014.
The Comando Aviação do Exército will first test these new machines and incorporate its evaluation in the expected order for the modification of the remaining 32 Panthers, as the type is marketed internationally. Target is to keep the army version of the Eurocopter/Airbus Helicopter AS365 Dauphin flying for another 25 years.
Fitted with new Arriel 2C2CGs the Brazilian Army Panteras will have 40 percent more engine power, plus a new tail rotor. Moreover, a so-called glass cockpit will be installed, as well as a 4-axis autopilot. The light attack and scout helicopters crews will get night vision goggles and get better situational awareness from a new weather radar, new navigation and communication gear plus a new altimeter.
The upgraded Pantera K2 will have a top speed of 175 knots (324 kmh) – 25 /46 kmh) more than earlier – and a take-off weight of 9479 lbs (4,300 kg). The chopper can be flown by either a single or two pilots and is able to transport up to 10 troops.
The Germany Army received the last of 12 Tiger UHT support helicopters upgraded by Airbus Helicopters (fka Eurocopter) for Afghanistan missions on 6 March 2014.
The hand-over to the Kampfhubschrauberregiment 36 (KHR36 or Combat Helicopter Regiment 36) took place at Airbus Helicopters’ Donauwörth, Germany, production facility.
The dozen Tiger UHT support helicopters (Unterstützungshubschrauber) were delivered in three batches of four. They are modified to the so-called ASGARD standard, the configuration for the Afghanistan Stabilization German Army Rapid Deployment. Launched in 2011 it includes installation of engine sand filters and additional ballistic protection, along with the incorporation of a mission data recorder and enhanced communication equipment for multinational missions.
The German Armed Forces began deploying its initial Tiger UHTs modified to the ASGARD configuration in December 2012, with operations beginning a month later in Mazar-e-Scharif.
To date, these ASGARD-upgraded Tigers have accumulated well over 1,000 flight hours in German military service, demonstrating their high reliability, mission effectiveness, and a high level of acceptance during support missions.
Overall, Airbus Helicopters has delivered more than 100 Tigers in their various versions to the military services of Germany, France, Spain and Australia – accumulating more than 50,000 flight hours, including over 7,500 hours logged during military operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali and Somalia.
Noordzee Helicopters Vlaanderen (NHV) has ordered six more Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) EC175s on 25 February 2014, increasing its acquisitions of the new rotorcraft to 16. NHV is an EC175 launch customer, booking its first contract for 10 of the mid-sized, twin-engine helicopters in 2012.
Based in Oostende (Ostend), Belgium, NHV is specialized in business-to-business aviation services. Its helicopters are deployed to nine different countries on three continents. NHV’s missions range from services for the oil and gas industry to heli-lift duties for harbor pilots, wind farm operators, governments and hospitals.
Deliveries of NHV’s first newly ordered EC175 is planned later this year. Expecting much of the new chopper, Airbus Helicopters is locating the first EC175 Level D full-flight simulator in France. The aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada’s latest PT6C67E engine, developed specifically for the EC175. The chopper has a cruise speed of 165 knots.