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First HATS EC135 flies

written by WOFA | January 27, 2015

HATS First Flight 02The first Airbus Helicopters EC135 T2+ helicopter destined for the Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) fleet has completed its first flight.

The first of 15 twin-engine helicopters (serial number 1179) took off from the Airbus Helicopters production site in Donauwörth, Germany on January 16, and landed 57 minutes later. The aircraft wears a high-visibility gloss black and yellow paint scheme – similar to that worn by Squirrel and Bell 412 helicopters operated by the UKs Military Flying Training System – and the German registration D-HECG. Its Australian military serial of N52-001 has been covered over, and its ‘cab’ number ‘841’ has been crossed out.

Boeing Defence Australia  is the prime contractor for the $600 million HATS contract to train Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army pilots at HMAS Albatross.

Airbus Helicopters’ Flight Test Department reported that the flight validated the full performance of the aircraft’s systems and engines. Future EC135 T2+ flights are expected to test specific items of equipment.

“At Airbus Helicopters, we are thrilled to have reached such a fantastic milestone in only two months from contract signing last November,” stated Peter Harris, Airbus Helicopters’ head of sales for Australia Pacific.

“This clearly demonstrates the commitment that we have towards supporting Boeing Defence Australia in meeting the ADF’s needs for training all future combat helicopter aircrew for the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army. We will take all of our milestones just as seriously.”

Thales, which is Boeing’s main partner for HATS, is supplying three full-flight simulators and a suite of other synthetic training devices. Airbus Helicopters and helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca are also part of the team.

The first of the HATS helicopters is expected to arrive in Nowra, New South Wales, in the first quarter of 2016, and the final aircraft is due to be delivered in the first quarter of the following year.

HATS First Flight 01


  • William


    Absolutely appaling paint scheme.

  • Peter Bourke


    I wonder if Army and Navy have any plans to order more of these helicopters for light utility work previously performed by Kiowas. I thought Army had a published requirement some time ago, but I cannot find any mention of it now.

  • Corey


    Why weren’t the helicopters assembled here in Australia at the Airbus Helicopters assembly building in Brisbane? Also why has the Australian military serial of N52-001 has been covered over, and its ‘cab’ number ‘841’ has been crossed out? Personally I think they could of picked a better colour scheme but I don’t mind the colours they’ve used.

  • Raymond


    These 15 EC135’s are for the HATS requirement. Should the ADF be satisfied with the aircraft, system, delivery, implementation etc., I dare say that further airframes could be ordered for other requirements (e.g. the LUH role), similar to other ADF follow-on orders.

    Andrew / AA: In relation to numbers, I understand you were going to approach the relevent people when this order was announced, seeking further clarification. Have you been able to ascertain anything more? Thanks.

  • Paul


    Peter, There has been mention of AIR9000 Phase 9 for that exact purpose. It seems only a placeholder at the moment – no timing or costs.

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