Airbus Helicopters delivered the first three AS565 MBe PANTHER helicopters to representatives of the Indonesian Ministry of Defence and Navy in France on 23 November. Under the terms of the 2014 contract with PT Dirgantara Indonesia for 11 PANTHERs, the remaining eight aircraft will be delivered through 2018.
The MBe variant benefits from an increased maximum take-off weight of 4,500kg and will provide increased mission effectiveness in the anti-submarine warfare role for which they are destined, according to Janick Blanc, Head of the PANTHER programme at Airbus Helicopters. PT Dirgantara Indonesia, with whom Airbus Helicopters celebrated 40 years of strategic partnership earlier this month, will reassemble and outfit the aircraft on their arrival in Indonesia, becoming the design authority. The process will also cater for installation of the ASW suite, comprising a dipping sonar and a torpedo launch system.
Budi Santoso, CEO and President of PT Dirgantara Indonesia, told Mönch: “We have been working with Airbus Helicopters for many years by now, and this milestone today further illustrates the commitment both companies have towards this programme. We look forward to receiving these green helicopters in Bandung, as we ready to start the installation of the mission equipment, and the subsequent qualification and certification of our future anti-submarine warfare helicopters.”