The Mexican Navy received the final two of overall ten AS565 MBe multi-mission Panther helicopters during a delivery ceremony at Airbus Helicopters in Marignane, France.
The Mexican Navy was the first customer of the new version of the Panther after ordering the units in 2014.
The first four helicopters were delivered in 2016 and the remaining six during the course of 2017.
Stationed at three naval bases in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Sonora and Michoacan, the helicopters will be performing an average of 300 flight hours for reconnaissance, patrol missions and training flights.
The AS565 MBe is equipped with two Safran Arriel 2N engines, which enhance its performance in hot & high conditions and enable it to achieve a top speed of 278 km/h and a range of 780 kilometers, according to Airbus. It also boasts a new main gearbox and a 4-axis autopilot that reduces crew workload
The MBe Panthers are fitted with a cargo hook, a rescue hoist, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) for night-time rescue missions and a total of four stretchers for medical evacuation.
“The arrival of the MBe Panther has enhanced the Navy Aviation’s operational capabilities,” explained Admiral Jose Maria Garcia Macedo, the Mexican Navy’s general director of Naval Aviation.
“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 SAR, disaster relief, external load operations and even air ambulance.”
“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 (NVG),” said Mesrob Karalekian, Airbus Helicopters’ Vice-President for Latin America.