The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (MSDF) has received its first EC135 T2i training helicopter from Eurocopter.

The MSDF Test and Evaluation Air Squadron will instrument and evaluate the helicopter before training begins at the naval pilot training school by the second half of 2010.

The MSDF has plans to acquire a fleet of 15 training aircraft, while a second contract for three additional helicopters is expected to be signed shortly.

The 3t EC135 is a modern light twin-engine helicopter that can accommodate a maximum of eight passengers. The helicopter provides easy maintenance, good manoeuvrability, high visibility, and low vibration and fuel consumption levels.

In February 2009, the Japanese Ministry of Defence contracted Eurocopter to supply two EC135 helicopters, of which, the second is scheduled to be delivered in February 2010.