Airbus Helicopters has delivered first of ten AS565 MBe Panther helicopter to the Mexican Navy.
The AS565 MBe 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.
Mexico is becoming the first customer to receive the new version of this multi-role, medium-class military rotorcraft. The Mexican Navy purchased the helicopters in 2014. The Navy will receive three other units before the end of the year and the remaining six by early 2018, the company announced today.
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 rotorcraft boasts a new main gearbox, a latest-generation tail rotor and a 4-axis autopilot that reduces crew workload and makes the 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 M aria García Macedo. 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, Macedo added.
Mexican Naval Aviation’s AS565 MBe Panthers fulfill NATO’s regulatory requirements in performing 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.
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.