Airbus Helicopters has achieved Factory Acceptance of the last six of the EC135T2+ for the Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), completing on-time deliveries of the full fleet of 15 helicopters.
Provided and managed by prime contractor Boeing Defence Australia, HATS training assets include 15 EC135 T2+ helicopters, along with three Thales EC135 Reality H Full Flight Simulators (FFS) and other synthetic training devices, and a flight deck-equipped sea-going training vessel. The helicopters are equipped with the common Thales Meghas cockpit avionics suite, also in service with the US Army’s UH-72 Lakota (Airbus Helicopters EC145) utility and training helicopter.
The new helicopters, which will be based at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW, will replace the Army’s existing Bell 206 Kiowas and the Navy’s AS350 Squirrels. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for HATS is officially scheduled for late 2018 but the systems will begin to receive students before then, with a mature training capacity of up to 130 students a year covering pilots, aviation warfare officers, aircrewmen, sensor operators and qualified aircrew returning for instructor training.