Tag Archives: Ecureuil

To the rescue in Nepal

UPDATED 28 APRIL 2015 | The strong earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April 2015, with 7.8 on the Richter scale the country’s strongest in 80 years, has had nations scramble their resources to come to the rescue of the Himalayan state. Several countries have put part of their air forces on alert to dispatch aid and rescue / recovery teams to the areas hit.

As expected other Asian nations have responded fairly fast. According to sources in New Delhi the Indian Air Force have directed a pair of its ten Boeing C-17A Globemaster IIIs strategic airlifters to the rescue / recovery / repatriation effort, as well as a Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, an Ilyushin IL-76 and a pair of Mil Mi-17 helicopters. The Republic of Singapore Air Force is sending three of its ten Hercules aircraft; the Pakistan Air Force sent four of its 18 C-130s and the Royal Thai Air Force committed Hercs as well. Qatar dispatched two civilian Qatar Airways Cargo Airbus A330 to Kathmandu. China sent its rescue team on an Air China Airbus A330.

Archive photo of a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 taking off from Male at the Maldives in May 2007 (Image (CC) DD, Male, Maldives)
Archive photo of a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 taking off from Male at the Maldives in May 2007 (Image (CC) DD, Male, Maldives)

Sweden initially committed a team of 72 men and women plus 12 dogs to help Nepalese authorities in the search for survivors and recovery efforts, but later decided to send 30 people and no dogs on board a civilian freighter. The team has enough supplies and essentials to be self-sufficient for two weeks and left Örebro Airport in the centre of the country at around 21:20 local time on Monday 27 April. Earlier it was thought that the bigger team would go on one of the EU/NATO’s three C-17A Globmasters based at Papa Airbase in Hungary. Sweden is one of the main users of this small pool of European airlift.

A Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10. More is here. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

The Netherlands sent a Urban Search and Rescue team of 62 men/women and 8 dogs to the area, using a Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) KDC-10. The team will depart the Netherlands on Sunday evening. Five tonnes of aid accompanies the team on board the RNLAF aircraft. The UK is sending a C-17 Globemaster and C-130 Hercules, while the US  has ordered a C-17 with 70 disaster assistance personnel and 45 square tonnes of cargo to the region.

Nepal Army Air Wing
The resources of Nepal itself are spread thin. The Nepal Army Air Wing only has a few air assets available. The fixed wing fleet consists of two Antonov AN-28 light transport aircraft, a Britten Norman BN-2 Islander utility aircraft and a Hawker Siddeley HS 748 transport aircraft.

It was daring move by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), designing and building its own utility helicopter; the Dhruv ('Polaris'). This Indian army Dhruv is seen doing a display for potential buyers. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Made in and delivered by India: the Nepal Army Air Wing operates four Dhruvs similar to this Indian Army example (Image © Elmer van Hest)

A quartet of Indian-made HAL Dhruv, four Alouette IIIs and five Mil Mi-17 “Hip” make up the mainstay of the rotary wing. It is complemented by a Eurocopter (Airbus Helicotpers) AS350 Écureuil and two Aérospatiale SA315 Alouette IIs/Lamas. A bigger Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) AS332 Puma is configured for VIP flights. The Nepal Army has only one main base of operations, part of Kathmandu Airport, but there are at least 36 airfields spread across the country that can be used for air operations.

It is not known if and how many aircraft in Nepal have been damaged by the earthquake. Private rotary wing is available as well, but we have no numbers at this time.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): The third Boeing C-17 Globemaster III for the Indian Air Force leaving the factory plant at Long Beach for India at August 20th, 2013 (Image © Boeing)

The Chinese rescue response team to the 25 April 2015 Earthquake in Nepal arrived on board an Air China Airbus A330, similar to this one (Image (CC) Kentaro Ieomoto)
The Chinese rescue response team to the 25 April 2015 Earthquake in Nepal arrived on board an Air China Airbus A330, similar to this one (Image (CC) Kentaro Ieomoto)

Airbus H125 helicopters on pilgrimage in India

India’s Heritage Aviation two H125 (fka AS350 Ecureuil) helicopters acquired for charter and utility missions on 15 April 2015 are almost ready to go to their new homeland. The first H125 will arrive in India by the end of the month, followed by the second in early May. The choppers will have a special focus on pilgrimage heli-tours.

Heritage Aviation has been operating at pilgrimage sites in India with leased aircraft in the past. After operating various types of single-engine helicopters for the past seven years, Heritage Aviation selected the H125 to be part of its permanent fleet.

“Based on feedback of our pilots and customers, the H125 has been one of the most popular aircraft especially for visits to temples on high grounds,” said Rohit Mathur, CEO of Heritage Aviation. “Passengers find the flights stable, assuring and comfortable; while pilots like the ease of flying it at high altitudes and in hilly areas.”

Pilgrim tourism in India has seen an increasing number of people opting for the safer and more convenient option of helicopter travel over road transport and trekking. The H125 has been frequently used to fly tourists to places such as Kedarnath and Badrinath. It is also being used extensively for passenger transport at Amarnath and Vaishno Devi shrines in the States of Jammu & Kashmir.

Source: Airbus Helicopters
Featured image: The first of two H125s for India’s Heritage Aviation (Image © Eric Raz / Airbus Helicopters)[/caption]

Botswana Police Service signs up for AS350s

The Botswana’s Police Service signed contract for three new Airbus Helicopters AS350 B3e Ecureuils for its Police Air Support Branch on 26 January 2015.

The new rotary wing will be customised to the Botswana Police Service’s specification, including the installation of night vision equipment for night-time operations and other law enforcement equipment. The start of delivery of the new aircraft is scheduled for later in 2015.

The AS350 B3e is equipped with the Turboméca Arriel 2D turbine engine. Worldwide, to date, Airbus Helicopters has sold more than 5,800 Ecureuil family aircraft (4,900 are In-service), – including more than 1600 (1152 B3 / 476 B3e) B3 series machines – to some 1,800 operators in 120 countries, including numerous law enforcement and civic agencies.

Source: Airbus Helicopters
Featured image: An Airbus AS350 B3e ordered by the Botswana Police Service (Image © Airbus Helicopters Southern Africa Pty Ltd)

Airbus helos head for Spain

Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first AS355 NP Ecureuil to the Spanish Road Transport Authority (DGT) and the first EC135 to the country’s National Police Force under the contract signed in February of this year with the DGT. The deliveries were announced in a press release on 17 December.

The agreement covers the supply of a total of seven helicopters: four AS355 NP Ecureuils and three EC135s, with the latter model to be operated by the National Police Force. The deliveries commenced with these first two helicopters and will be completed in 2016.

The DGT has a fleet of 12 helicopters operating from its central headquarters in Madrid as well as from regional bases and used for surveillance, traffic regulation and highway patrols throughout Spanish territory. It also operates one of the largest fleets of the AS355 NP Ecureuil in the world.

Meanwhile, following its latest delivery the Police’s Aerial Services will now have a total of 14 EC135s, which are used for surveillance and other police missions. This reinforces the presence of this multi-purpose rotorcraft in Spain, where it has established itself as the helicopter of choice for the country’s security forces (including the Guardia Civil, National Police and National Road Transport Authority) and the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET), whether for advanced training missions or medical emergencies in Spain’s different autonomous regions.

Source: Airbus Helicopters

The AS355 for the (Image © Airbus Helicopters)
The AS355 for the Spanish Road Transport Authority. (Image © Airbus Helicopters)
(Image © Airbus Helicopters)
And no mistake about it, this EC135 is for the police. (Image © Airbus Helicopters)

Big Indonesian business for Airbus Helicopters

Thumbs up for the Indonesian Air Force EC725. (Image © Airbus Helicopters)
Thumbs up for the Indonesian Air Force EC725. (Image © Airbus Helicopters)

This week, Indonesian and Airbus Helicopters representatives shook hands more than once during the Indo Defence 2014 trade show. The Indonesian Navy purchased 11 AS565 Panther helicopters while the Indonesian Army accepted the first of 12 Ecureuil/Fennec light attack helicopters. Not enough? In France, the first Indonesian Air Force EC725 was handed over. Big Indonesian business for Airbus Helicopters.

The eleven AS565 helicopters should be delivered within three years. Mission equipment include the Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) dipping sonar and torpedo launching system – providing a truly effective mission system for operations from land bases and ships. The Panther helicopters are meant for anti-submarine warfare missions.

The Indonesian Army’s 12 Ecureuil/Fennec light attack helicopters should all be delivered by 2016. The order comprises six single-engine and six twin-engine versions. Machine guns and rocket launchers will be installed by PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) at its in-country facilities in Bandung.

More thumbs up for the first Fennec. (Image © Airbus Helicopters)
More thumbs up for the first Fennec. (Image © Airbus Helicopters)

Finally, on 6 November the first of six Indonesian Air Force EC725 combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopters was handed over at Airbus Helicopters’ facility in Marignane, France. An order for ten more EC725s is on the cards . The type will significantly enhance the Indonesian military’s CSAR capabilities,

The Indonesian Air Force has been a long-time operator of both the AS332 Super Puma and SA330 Puma rotorcraft, which were license-produced by PTDI since over 30 years ago.

Source: Airbus Helicopters