Tag Archives: Dauphin

Lithuania introduces new SAR choppers

Lithuania on Thursday 14 January celebrated the entry into service of the new Airbus Helicopters AS365 N3+ helicopters for search and rescue (SAR) duties. The new choppers, three of which have been ordered, are available for duty 24/7.

The Baltic country ordered the helicopters are replacement for ageing, Soviet era Mil Mi-8 Hip helos. Following the first two deliveries in June and September 2015, air force pilots, rescue workers and technicians underwent a full training program, including the use of a full flight simulator. The final chopper arrived in-country last month.

The three AS365 N3+ SAR helicopters are fully equipped with the latest technologies such as forward looking infrared (FLIR), radar, search lights, hailer, hoist, and stretchers. The full glass cockpit and 4-axis autopilot with SAR modes significantly decrease the crew workload, allowing them to perform their demanding missions safely.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The new Lithuanian Air Force SAR Dauphin (Image © Airbus Helicopters)

Meet the new Dauphin

Airbus Helicopters is working hard to move the Aérospatiale and Eurocopter legacy it absorbed into something new. The thrive towards the future will mean the end of the fairly popular Dauphin helicopter, in use with many rescue and government services worldwide. Or at least the end of the AS365 and EC155 Dauphins we know.

On 13 June 2015 the new Airbus Helicopters H160 made its first flight in Marignane in France, after successful ground testing in May. The flight – in so-called ground effect – lasted for 40 minutes and was mainly aimed to check the basic behavior of the chopper. During the second flight on 17 June the chopper reached 130 knots, close to the projected cruising speed of 160 knots (184 mph or 296 km/h).

Airbus Helicopters is aiming to put the H160 into service in 2018. Therefore two more prototypes will see the light of day, the first did a power-up test on 12 June, as well as two ground test airframes.

The Aérospatiale SA365/AS365 Dauphin has been in production ever since its first flight in 1975. More than 1,000 machines have been built, with one of the more recent deliveries to the Lithuanian Air Force.

Harbin Z-9
The Dauphin type is also manufactured under license as the Z-9 and derivatives by Harbin in China. Apart from use as a civilian platform and by the People’s Liberation Air Force (42+ aircraft) and Navy (34 aircraft), the Z-9 flies with the armed forces of Bolivia (12 delivered, 10 operational after two incidents), Cambodia (9), Cameroon (4 ordered, at least 2 operational), Ghana (4 ordered), Kenya (6), Laos (4), Mali (2 delivered), Mauritania (2 ordered), Namibia (2 delivered, 1 crashed), Pakistan (12) and Zambia (3 operational, 1 ordered).

The Harbin Z-9WE production model attack helicopter. Four similar aircraft have been obtained by Cambodia (Image © CATIC)

US Coast Guard
The US Coast Guard fielded the type as the HH-65 Dolphin and later MH-65 for search-and-rescue duties since the end of the seventies. A hundred machines are still in the inventory with the the type being upgraded to MH-65E standard. The M-version has weaponry and newer communication systems. The newest E-type has an so-called “all-glass” cockpit with newer navigation capabilities. The first will be introduced into the fleet in 2017.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by Airbus Helicopters
Featured image (top): First flight of the H160 in June 2015 (Image © Thierry Rostan / Airbus Helicopters)

Lithuanian Air Force’s first Dauphin

The Lithuanian Air Force received its first of three Airbus Helicopters (Aérospatiale / Eurocopter) AS365N3+ Dauphins on 2 June 2015. Before the end of the year the new search and rescue / environmental patrol asset is expected to number all three machines.

Russian-made Mil Mi-8 Hip choppers will be replaced with the new Western European helicopter already operational with many of the world’s armed force and SAR services. The main task of the Dauphins is civil and military SAR, including missions supporting NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. The latter meaning the rescue of fighter jocks of NATO’s combat aircraft in case they eject from their planes in case of an emergency.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Environment, which co-purchased the machines with the Ministry of Defence, gets 75 flight hours on the Dauphins a year, for environmental observation and control. The AS365s are also to deploy as fire-fighters and to transport organs for transplantation.

The Lithuanian Armed Forces signed the procurement contract with Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) on the three Eurocopter AS365N3+ Dauphins in October 2013, for about 52 million euro including the training of pilots.

The Dauphins are equipped with a weather/SAR radar, infrared sensors, searchlight, an autopilot and other equipment to make recovery of people possible about 125 miles (200 km) from the take-off point possible. The Lithuanian Armed Forces have SAR detachments at Kaunas-Aleksotas in the south of the country and at Nemirseta on the Baltic Sea coast in the west.

Source: Ministry of National Defence Republic of Lithuania

The first of three AS365N3+ Dauphins arrive in Lithuania on 2 June 2015 (Image © Lithuanian Ministry of Defence)
The first of three AS365N3+ Dauphins arrive in Lithuania on 2 June 2015 (Image © Lithuanian Ministry of Defence)

Taiwan secures availability of its disaster relief Dauphins

Taiwan has secured the operational availability of its fleet of 10 Aérospatiale designed AS365 Dauphin helicopters for the next five years. Taipei has chosen Airbus Helicopters – the current marketeer/manufacturer of the Dauphin – for a so-called full fleet management for 54,5 million Euros.

The Dauphin is popular within the Japan National Police and flies for regional units (Image © Chikako Hirano / Airbus Helicopters)
RELATED POST: Japan’s law & rescue sector chooses more Dauphins
The National Airborne Services Corps of Republic of China (Taiwan) Interior Ministry is operating the 10 Dauphins in the search and rescue, disaster relief, emergency medical services (HEMS), transportation, monitoring, reconnaissance and patrol role. The NASC’s AS365s are based at Taipei-SongShan, Taichung and Kaohsiung-Hsia Kong.

Key in deal is that Airbus performs not only all maintenance on the choppers, but also provides so-called end-to-end logistics. In other words, the NASC personnel should only worry about its real mission: providing chopper service for those in need.

The NASC was formed in March 2004 as a merger between police, fire fighting and coast guard units. Besides the Dauphins, the NASC operates 20 Bell UH-1H “Huey” choppers, two Sikorsky S-76Bs, three Chinooks (civilian model B-234 of the CH-47), a Beechcraft 200 Super King Air (BE-200) and a Beechcraft 350 King Air (BE-350). Apart from the three Fleet Stations where the Dauphins are based, the NASC air assets also fly from Fleet Stations Hualien, Tainan and Taitung.

Sources: Airbus Helicopters / NASC
Featured image: One of 10 AS365 Dauphin helicopters operated by the Republic of China National Airborne Service Corps
(Image © NASC)

Japan’s law & rescue sector chooses more Dauphins

The Dauphin – designed by Aérospatiale and currently part of Airbus Helicopters – is a quite a popular helicopter within authority aviation wings in Japan. The Japan National Police Agency signed up for more on 31 March 2015.

One H155 (EC155) will go to the Kagawa Prefectural Police, while an AS365 N3+ variant has been ordered for the Fukuoka Prefectural Police. Both Dauphins are scheduled to be delivered in 2017, and will replace aging aircraft in these operators’ respective fleets. The H155 is Kagawa Prefectural Police’s first Airbus Helicopters-built rotorcraft.

This month’s three Dauphin deliveries in Japan involved an H155 for the Hyogo Prefectural Police, one AS365 N3+ received by the Hiroshima Prefectural Police, and an AS365 N3+ for the Nagoya City Fire Department.

Currently, a total of 56 Dauphin helicopters are operated in Japan – including three H155s and six AS365s deployed by Japanese police agencies, as well as 24 AS365s flown in firefighting and disaster relief missions.

The medium-sized twin-engine Dauphin incorporates the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, that makes operations safer for people on the ground than the tail rotors that turn around “out in the open”. The Dauphin’s cabin can accommodate up to 13 passengers, flown by a crew of two.

Source: Airbus Helicopters
Featured image: The Dauphin is popular within the Japan National Police and flies for regional units (Image © Chikako Hirano / Airbus Helicopters)