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Mexico receives upgraded Panther helo from Airbus

The Mexican navy has received the first of 10 AS565 MBe multirole helicopters ordered from Airbus.

By Richard Tomkins
Mexico receives upgraded Panther helo from Airbus
Airbus Helicopters has delivered an upgraded Panther variant to the Mexican navy. Photo courtesy Airbus

MARIGNANE, France, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Airbus Helicopters reports it has delivered the first of ten AS565 MBe multirole helicopters ordered by the Mexican navy.

The aircraft will be operated by Mexican Naval Aviation in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Pacific coast for search and rescue, disaster relief and evacuation, drug enforcement and coastal protection.

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"The Mexican Navy's first Panther helicopters came into service 10 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.

"Thanks to the state-of-the-art technology on board, the new helicopters will enhance Naval Aviation's operational and response capability, enabling us to carry out maritime safety missions both day and night, in any weather and in heavy seas."

The AS565 MBe, an upgraded variant of the Panther, is equipped with two Safran Arriel 2N engines, enabling enhanced performance in hot and high conditions and giving it a top speed of nearly 178 miles per hour and a range of about 484 miles.

Mexico is Airbus' lead customer for the upgraded helicopter.

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Airbus said three additional aircraft will be delivered to the Mexican navy this year. The final six will be delivered by 2018.

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