AS565 MBe Panther multi-mission helicopter, a new variant of the AS565 MB Panther light helicopter developed by Airbus Helicopters, is intended for use by navies and coast guards in a wide range of naval warfare and maritime security tasks.
The helicopter’s mission capabilities include anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface unit warfare, maritime surveillance, search and rescue, patrol, counter-terrorism, counter-piracy, vertical replenishment, medical evacuation, casualty evacuation, and special operations missions.
AS565 MBe Panther multi-role helicopter orders and deliveries
Airbus Helicopters received an order from the Mexican Navy in 2014 for the supply of ten AS565 MBe Panther multi-mission helicopters. The first four helicopters were handed over to the Mexican Navy in 2016, while the remaining six were delivered in 2017.
The helicopters are being operated by the Naval Aviation in the Gulf of Mexico and are intended to perform search-and-rescue, maritime security, disaster relief, evacuation, and transportation tasks in the country’s territorial waters.
In November 2014, PT Dirgantara Indonesia signed a strategic industrial agreement with Airbus Helicopters to acquire 11 AS565 MBe Panther multi-role helicopters for use by the Indonesian Navy in naval anti-submarine warfare missions.
PT Dirgantara Indonesia is responsible for integrating the anti-submarine warfare suite into the 11 AS565 MBe helicopters. The company received the first three helicopters from Airbus Helicopters in November 2016, while the remaining helicopters are expected to be delivered by 2018.
Mahindra Aerostructures received an order from Airbus Helicopters to manufacture AS565 MBe airframe parts in July 2016.
AS565 MBe Panther design and features
The AS565 MBe Panther multi-role helicopter is equipped with a Starflex main rotor head with four glass / carbon-fibre blades. Its Fenestron shrouded type tail rotor is equipped with composite blades.
Fitted with a retractable tricycle landing gear, the helicopter can perform take-off and landing operations on naval vessels, offshore locations, and land-based sites. The landing gear has an axially lockable castering wheel unit in the nose and two main wheels under the fuselage.
The basic operating and maximum take-off weights of AS565 MBe are 2,406kg and 4,500kg, respectively. The helicopter has a cargo hook capacity of 907kg, fuel capacity of 1,135l and sling load-carrying capacity of 1,600kg.
The helicopter features a glass cockpit with pilot and co-pilot seats as well as four-point shoulder harnesses. Two jettisonable pilot and co-pilot doors with tinted windows are also provided.
The fuselage comprises a cabin and storage compartment. Accommodating up to ten commando seats, the cabin is equipped with two jettisonable doors at the front and two sliding doors towards the rear.
Avionics and flight control
The cockpit is equipped with a four-axis autopilot with two Rockwell Collins primary flight multi-functional displays, two MFD 255 navigational displays, one large mission display, and one dual vehicle and engine management display to provide flight information to the crew.
Avionics on board the AS565 MBe Panther include a search / weather radar, helicopter terrain awareness system (HTAWS), traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), solid-state cockpit voice and flight data recorder, integrated electronic standby instrument, usage monitoring system, and cockpit voice and flight data recorder.
The cockpit also incorporates an advanced human-machine interface and electro-optical sensors for day and night situational awareness.
The Indonesian Navy’s AS565 MBe Panther helicopters are installed with mission equipment such as dipping sonar, helicopter long-range active sonar (HELRAS) and torpedo launching system.
The helicopter’s flight is controlled by a four-axis dual digital automatic flight control system.
Propulsion and performance of AS565 MBe Panther
Two Turbomeca Arriel 2N turboshaft engines on board the AS565 MBe Panther multi-role helicopter provide a maximum speed of 278km/h and range of 780km.
The engines are rated at 842kW each and controlled using a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system. The main components of the helicopter’s transmission system are one main gearbox and one tail gearbox.
The AS565 MBe has a rate of climb of 6m/s and IGE hover ceiling of 2,548m. It can stay in the air for four hours and eight minutes when flying at a speed of 140km/h. It has the ability to operate under all weather conditions, during both day and night.