Airbus completed the Mexican Navy’s order for AS565 MBe Panther aircraft after delivering the final two helicopters, the company announced Dec. 6.
Mexico was the launch customer for the AS565 MBe Panther with its order for ten helicopters in 2010. The first four helicopters were delivered in 2016, with the remaining six arriving in 2017.
“The arrival of the MBe Panther has enhanced the Navy Aviation’s operational capabilities,” said Admiral Jose Maria Garcia Macedo, the Mexican Navy’s general director of Naval Aviation, in a statement. “It is a modern, multi-mission helicopter that we can use in both maritime and land environments for a wide range of missions, including maritime [search & rescue], disaster relief, external load operations and even air ambulance.”
The Mexican Navy has the helicopters stationed at three naval bases, and utilizes them for reconnaissance, patrol missions and training flights.
Airbus’ AS565 MBe Panther utilizes advanced mission equipment, including a cargo hook, rescue hoists, forward-looking infrared technology for night-time operations, and four stretchers for medical missions.
The helicopters are also equipped with two Safran Arriel 2N engines, a new tail rotor and a 4-axis autopilot system to reduce crew workload.
“I would like to thank the Mexican Navy for their confidence in our helicopters,” said Mesrob Karalekian, Airbus’ vice president for Latin America operations, in a statement. “To help ensure success for their critical missions, we have made a technical and logistical support team available to them around the clock in Veracruz. Some 30 pilots have also been trained, many of them receiving specific training in SAR and night vision goggles.”