The 1st General Purpose Helicopter Squadron (HU-1) of the Brazilian Navy has made the first flight with the newly-acquired UH-17 (Airbus H135) helicopters in Antarctica.

Helicopters organic to the polar patrol vessel ALMIRANTE MAXIMIANO were launched to allow the flight crews to acclimatize to cold climate operations, carry out reconnaissance of the area around the Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station and conduct cargo qualification trials from the ARY RONGEL oceanographic support vessel.

After an intense period of operational and maintenance training, personnel of the Embarked Air Detachment (DAE) of the 39th ‘Operation Antarctica’ (OPERANTAR) and of the vessels were able to put into practice everything they have learned during the initial transition phase to this new environment.

The aircraft involved are the first two of three UH-17s acquired from Airbus Helicopters, with the aim of expanding the capacity of air operations undertaken for the benefit of the Brazilian Antarctic Programme (PROANTAR), supporting scientific projects and replacing the Helibrás ESQUILOS currently being used for this mission. The third unit is expected to be delivered in early 2021.

Santiago Rivas and Florencia Lucero Heguyin Buenos Aires for MON

A UH-17 flying close to the ALMIRANTE MAXIMIANO and ARY RONGEL. (Photo: Brazilian Navy)

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