The Mexican Navy on Wednesday 28 September took delivery of the first of ten AS565 MBe Panther helicopters purchased in 2014, becoming the first customer in the world to receive the new version of this multi-role, medium-class military rotorcraft. The Navy will receive three other units before the end of the year and the remaining six by 2018.
The helicopters will be operated by the Naval Aviation in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Pacific coast, where they will perform a range of missions including Search and Rescue (SAR), disaster relief transportation and evacuation, drug enforcement and coastal protection. The contract also includes training of pilots and technicians to provide the Navy with full autonomy in managing its fleet and optimizing the availability of helicopters
New & proven
The AS565 MBe combines new and proven technologies, according to Airbus Helicopters. It is equipped with two Safran Arriel 2N engines, which enhance its performance in hot & high conditions and enable it to achieve a top speed of 278 km/h and a range of 780 kilometers. It also boasts a new main gearbox, a latest-generation tail rotor and a 4-axis autopilot that reduces crew workload and makes the most demanding missions, such as SAR, easier to perform.
“The Mexican Navy’s first Panther helicopters came into service ten years ago,” said Vice Admiral Jose Maria García Macedo. “Since then they have been our most loyal ally when it comes to saving lives, and it gives us great pleasure to expand our fleet with the more modern version of the same aircraft.”
Mexican Naval Aviation’s AS565 MBe Panthers are able to perform landings on moving ships 24 hours a day, and are thus able to operate right across Mexico’s territorial waters. Their equipment suite includes a main- and tail-rotor blade folding system, a deck-lock harpoon and an emergency flotation system.
Sikorsky has been contracted to supply seven ‘uniquely’ configured UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Mexico, according to a statement made by the US Department of Defense on Tuesday 12 April. The contract is worth 54 million USD – and does not further disclose what apparently makes the choppers unique.
Work will be performed in West Palm Beach, Florida, and should be complete in February 2019. In 2014, Mexico already ordered 18 UH-60M Black Hawks and in 2015 the country purchased three more Black Hawks for anti-drug operations. It is not immediately clear if the contract announced on Tuesday involves modifications to helicopters ordered earlier, or newly produced Black Hawks.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): An UH-60M Black Hawk. (Image © US Army)
Bell Helicopter on Monday 28 March completed the delivery of the 15th Bell 407GXP to the Mexican Air Force (FAM). The contract was awarded in March 2015, and the Bell 407GXP fleet is currently supporting the FAM’s parapublic missions across the region.
As the primary aircraft operating branch of the Mexican Armed Forces, the FAM covers the entire country, with 18 military air bases located across Mexico. The FAM have been operating Bell helicopters since 1973 with the delivery of a Bell 206-B, and their fleet currently includes the Bell 412EP, 212 and 206. The 15 Bell 407GXPs are operated by the 111th Air Squadron based at the Military Airbase in Zapopan, Jalisco.
“The Bell 407GXP is truly a multi-mission capable platform that can perform various missions,” said Jay Ortiz, vice president of Latin American sales for Bell Helicopters. “We are honored by the Mexican Air Force’s trust in Bell Helicopter and our aircraft, and we are proud to have delivered the final Bell 407GXP to join their fleet.”
With more than 1,300 Bell 407 aircraft operating worldwide, there are more than 200 in parapublic configuration.
Featured image: Bell Helicopter
Ireland-based CityJet on Tuesday 13 October announced that it has agreed to take delivery of 15 Superjet SSJ100 passenger aircraft from Superjet International, commencing next year. The European regional airline is to take four aircraft in 2016, with an additional 11 delivered throughout 2017. The airline has also taken options on an additional ten aircraft.
Superjet International (SJI) is a joint venture between Alenia Aermacchi, part of the Finmeccanica Group of Italy and the Russian Sukhoi corporation. The airliner seats 98 passengers and is the first aircraft in its class to offer five abreast seating. The aircraft achieved European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification in February 2012.
CityJet is one of the first Western customers to take the Sukhoi jet. Mexican company Interjet earlier in 2013 was the first to fly the type outside Russia. Sukhoi currently has a backlog of about 200 aircraft.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: An SSJ100. (Image © Sukhoi Aircraft Company)
Mexico is in talks with Airbus Helicopters on buying 50 more H225M (formerly EC725) helicopters, specialized for Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) operations. Mexico already operates 11 Caracals out of 12 ordered earlier. One was reportedly shot down earlier this year in an incident related to Mexico’s drug wars.
The likely deal is worth over 2 billion USD, with a contract to be signed in July in Paris. The Caracal is a money maker for Airbus Helicopters. Poland recently selected the chopper as a future airborne asset. Other Caracal clients are France, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brazil.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): An Airbus Helicopters’ shot of the H225M. (Image © Anthony Pecchi / Airbus Helicopters)