The Mexican Navy has received its final two AS565 MBe Panther helicopters from Airbus Helicopters in Marignane.
With their order for ten units in 2014, the Mexican Navy became the launch customer of this new version. The first four helicopters were delivered in 2016 and the remaining six during the course of 2017, the company said in a statement Wednesday.
Stationed at three naval bases in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Sonora and Michoacan, the helicopters perform an average of 300 flight hours for reconnaissance, patrol missions and training flights.
“It is a modern, multi-mission helicopter that we can use in both maritime and land environments for a wide range of missions, including maritime SAR, disaster relief, external load operations and even air ambulance,” said Admiral Jose Maria Garcia Macedo, the Mexican Navy’s General Director of Naval Aviation.
MBe Panther‘s mission equipment include a cargo hook, a rescue hoist, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) for night-time rescue missions and four stretchers for medical evacuation.
“We have made a technical and logistical support team available to them around the clock in Veracruz. Some 30 pilots have also been trained, many of them receiving specific training in SAR and night vision goggles (NVG),” said Mesrob Karalekian, Airbus Helicopters’ Vice-President for Latin America.
The AS565 MBe is equipped with two Safran Arriel 2N engines, a top speed of 278 km/h and a range of 780 kilometers. It also has a tail rotor and a 4-axis autopilot that reduces crew workload and makes the missions, such as SAR, easier to perform.