Airbus’ presence at EXPONAVAL 2018 embraces both its Helicopters and its Defence and Space divisions.
From the former comes the H125 helicopter, present in model formo n the booth and in the static display, while a model of the VSR700 drone from Airbus Defence and Space, designed for surveillance and identification missions at ranges of up to 199 nm, also drew substantial attention.
“The Chilean Navy has a need to maintain a particular capacity and for this type of mission the H125 is entirely suited, due to its operational efficiency and versatility. Airbus has a long history of cooperation with the Navy: we have 20 helicopters flying in the naval air fleet, and have made ourselves available to the Navy, presenting the helicopter not as a product but as an integrated solution. And we have presented the support capabilities of the company, which has its own presence in Chile. We therefore believe that, with all these elements, ours is an ideal solution for the requirements of the Navy,” commented General Manager of Airbus Helicopters Chile, Jerome Ronssin, referencing the service’s programme for recpaitalisation of the medium helicopter fleet. He added that a service centre was recently opened in Santiago. “We have confirmed the presence we started 17 years ago, in 2001, when Airbus Helicopters decided to settle in the region and establish its regional base in Santiago de Chile. And four months ago, we finally installed ourselves with a new maintenance and instruction centre.”
Currently, the Chilean Navy operates 20 Airbus helicopters, among which are the H215 SUPER PUMA and the AS365 DAUPHIN. Naval Aviation also has three C295 PERSUADER aircraft configured as maritime patrol and antisubmarine warfare platforms. Regarding the VSR700 aircraft, Ronssin estimates that “its size is small enough to be carried on most ships that carry helicopters. We believe that it can be a reference in the world.”
Airbus Defense and Space, meanwhile, showcased different versions of the C295, an ideal aircraft for maritime surveillance operations and border control, among others. A total of twelve aircraft of the company’s light and medium transport family – including the three C295s mentioned above – are currently in service supporting Chile’s armed forces.