The government of Indonesia expects the rest of its Panther helicopter deliveries through 2018. Photo courtesy Airbus Helicopters
MARIGNANE, France, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The government of Indonesia has received its first 3 AS565 MBe Panther helicopters from Airbus during a ceremony at the company's headquarters in Marignane, France.
The delivery is part of a contract signed by both parties in late 2014, which covered 11 of the rotary-wing aircraft. The rest of the ordered helicopters are expected to be delivered by the end of 2018.
"We are excited to witness the handover of the first three AS565 MBe helicopters to our partner today," Airbus Helicopters Panther program head Janick Blanc said in a press release. "The AS565 MBe has been developed using state-of-the-art processes and this enhanced variant of the Panther will benefit from an increased maximum take-off weight at 4,500kg. This will provide increased mission capabilities, specifically for the anti-submarine warfare missions these rotorcraft are expected to perform."
The Panther helicopters will be used to support the Indonesian navy's anti-submarine warfare capabilities. Indonesia-based partner PT Dirgantara has been tasked with refitting the aircraft with dipping sonar and torpedo launch systems.
"We have been working with Airbus Helicopters on numerous projects for many years by now, and this milestone today further illustrates the commitment both companies have towards this program," Dirgantara Indonesia CEO Budi Santoso explained. "We look forward to receiving these green helicopters in Bandung, as we ready to start the installation of the mission equipment, and the subsequent qualification and certification of our future anti-submarine warfare helicopters."
The AS565 MBe Panther helicopter is an all-weather, multirole, rotary-wing aircraft designed to deploy from maritime platforms. The helicopter is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2N turboshaft engines, and can be armed with anti-submarine torpedoes and over-the-horizon long-range anti-ship missiles.