Airbus Helicopters announced Wednesday its selection of the Pratt & Whitney PW206B3 turboshaft engine to power the Airbus H135 IFR-certified helicopter the company is proposing for the U.S. Navy helicopter trainer replacement.
Company officials made the announcement at the 2019 Heli-Expo industry trade show in Atlanta.
“Pratt & Whitney engines power a large portion of the H135 fleet flying in North America, and we feel this choice reinforces the H135 as the best-value solution for the Navy’s initial entry rotary-wing pilot training requirement,” said Chris Emerson, President of Airbus Helicopters, Inc. and Head of the North America Region. “In partnership with Pratt & Whitney, Airbus is offering the Navy an enhanced training capability that will provide future naval aviators with the most realistic training available to prepare them for the fleet operations they will perform in more advanced aircraft.”
The H135, which is IFR certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, allows more efficient training of new pilots in environments and scenarios most similar to the Navy’s warfighting rotorcraft fleet, creating opportunities for better cost and operational synergies compared to single-engine trainers. It is a technologically advanced aircraft and one of the safest in its class, due in part to its advanced Helionix avionics system, with color digital multi-function displays, a four-axis autopilot, Integrated Flight Management System, and engines with Full Authority Digital Engine Control and one engine inoperative (OEI) training mode.
“We are proud to power the Airbus H135 proposal in support of the U.S. Navy Advanced Helicopter Training System,” said Maria Della Posta, Senior Vice President, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “With a track record of high performance, quality and reliability, our engines are the perfect choice for the U.S. Navy.”
The Airbus H135 is a market leading, multi-mission helicopter, in use with ten military services in nine nations for initial and advanced rotary-wing pilot training. More than 1,300 H135 family aircraft are in service around the globe with an accumulation of over 5 million total flight hours in missions such as search and rescue, armed scout, and pilot training.
The versatility of the H135 provides the Navy with performance attributes not found in single-engine helicopters, and offers some of the most advanced technologies available, providing instructor pilots and students with an optimum platform for training missions while also offering growth capacity for expanded mission requirements.
Airbus will manufacture the H135 for the Navy at its production facilities in Columbus, Miss. The Columbus plant has produced more than 430 UH-72A Lakota helicopters on-time and on-cost for the U.S. Army. It is also home to a production line for the H125 civil helicopter for the North American market.
Airbus Helicopters, Inc., is the leading provider of civil and commercial helicopters in the U.S. and began its operations 50 years ago in Grand Prairie, Texas.