Airbus Helicopters has selected Pratt & Whitney’s PW206B3 engine to power the H135 helicopter for the US Navy’s trainer replacement programme.
In January, the navy invited companies to submit proposals by 2 April to replace the TH-57B/C pilot training fleet. Bell, Leonardo Helicopters and Airbus are expected to compete for the deal.
Airbus said the H135 will enable efficient training in environments and scenarios most similar to the navy’s warfighting rotorcraft fleet.
The helicopter is expected to deliver better cost and operational synergies compared to single-engine trainers.
Airbus Helicopters president Chris Emerson said: “Pratt & Whitney engines power a large portion of the H135 fleet flying in North America, and we feel this choice reinforces the H135 as the best-value solution for the navy’s initial entry rotary-wing pilot training requirement.
“In partnership with Pratt & Whitney, Airbus is offering the navy an enhanced training capability that will provide future naval aviators with the most realistic training available to prepare them for the fleet operations they will perform in more advanced aircraft.”
The H135 features Helionix avionics system, which was designed to ensure greater mission flexibility and operational safety.
The system comprises colour digital multi-function displays, a four-axis autopilot, integrated flight management system, and engines with full authority digital control and one engine inoperative (OEI) training mode.
Pratt & Whitney Canada senior vice-president Maria Della Posta said: “We are proud to power the Airbus H135 proposal in support of the US Navy advanced helicopter training system. With a track record of high performance, quality and reliability, our engines are the perfect choice for the US Navy.”
Airbus plans to manufacture the H135 at its Columbus, Mississippi plant, where the company produced UH-72A Lakota helicopters for the US Army.