27 Helicopters for Commonality and Maintenance Synergies
The Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira, FAB) and Navy (Marinha do Brasil, MB) have selected the Helibras H125M Esquilo (Brazilian-assembled Airbus H125 Ecureuil) to modernise their fleets of training helicopters.
Given the T-HX program, coordinated by the MoD, the companies will standardise the training helicopters, enabling the training of rotary-wing pilots to be carried out jointly, optimising resources. Brazilian Army Aviation (AvEx) currently uses 34 modernised H125, which it designates HA-1A Fennec AvEx.
AvEx has a simulation centre, which can also be used by its sister services. The site, at Taubaté, has five Ecureuil interconnected simulator cabins and a full motion flight simulator, making it possible to conduct basic and advanced training missions, manoeuvres, normal and emergency procedures, night flying and tactical missions.
In FAB service, the H125M will replace the HB350 Esquilo (AS350 Ecureuil), in operation since 1986, while with the MB it will replace the veteran Bell Jet Ranger III of the same vintage. The acquisition will be in exchange for reducing by one unit the FAB order for H225Ms in their basic configuration and another unit will be subtracted from the MB order for the naval variant, with an Exocet launching capability. Brazil ordered a total of 50 H225M in 2010 – 16 for each service and two for presidential use. Economic crises caused significant delays, with the schedule adjusted to cater for completion of delivery in 2016. Now, the Air Force and Navy will receive 15 helicopters each. The Army will also reduce its fleet by a single aircraft, but will use the savings thus achieved to exchange for a logistics support package.
The FAB will receive 12 Esquilos, and the MB 15.
Santiago Rivas reporting from Buenos Aires for MON