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In early December, the Chilean Army took delivery of a 10th heavy-weight, twin-engine H215M, the last delivery in a project that began in 2008, with the purchase of eight of these helicopters, to which two more were added in 2013 and 2014 respectively. The new rotorcraft will serve alongside the previous nine in the Helicopter Battalion of the Chilean Army’s Air Brigade.
Held at Airbus Helicopters’ facilities in Santiago, Chile, the handover ceremony was attended by General Humberto Oviedo Arriagada, the Commander in Chief of the Chilean Army; BGen Gustavo Núñez Kocher, the Commander of the Chilean Army’s Air Brigade; and Airbus Helicopters Chile general manager, Alexandre Ceccacci, among other civil and military dignitaries.
“This helicopter complements the army’s fleet, which now includes latest-generation aircraft with the ability to perform multiple missions across the entire country,” said Kocher. “Our confidence in this helicopter is based on the positive operational results i
t has achieved since coming into service in 2009. The H215M has proved its versatility and reliability across the Army’s numerous and demanding operations.”
The army’s H215M have completed more than 10,000 flight hours in a large number of missions that range from the provision of aid to remote areas and medical evacuations to firefighting and disaster relief. The Chilean Army’s Air Brigade played a crucial relief role during the floods that hit the Atacama region in 2015, carrying out 56 missions to provide support for flood victims.
“This project owes its success to the involvement of both parties and the relationship of trust that exists between them,” said Ceccacci. “I would like to thank the Army for all their support. It will be an honor to continue working together in the support of these aircraft as well as in other projects to come. Airbus Helicopters can be proud of the Air Brigade’s 10 H215M, and I can assure you that we will be working hard to ensure they continue delivering high-value capability.”
In addition to the 10 H215Ms, the Chilean Army operates a number of other Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft, such as the single-engine AS350B3, the twin-engine AS355NP and the Puma SA330L.
The H215 — and its military version, the H215M — forms part of the Super Puma family. It boasts multi-mission capabilities and delivers optimum performance in extreme operating conditions.
Combining modern avionics with a proven, robust platform the H215M offers long-range capabilities, power, speed and a large useful payload; making it the ideal aircraft to perform search-and-rescue missions. The H215 is also reliable and highly economical, with an availability rate of more than 95 percent.
The helicopters of the Super Puma family serve with the Armed Forces of more than 43 countries around the world. There are more than 100 helicopters from the family operating in Latin America alone, in virtually every country of the region. Their ability to operate in both high and hot conditions and jungle environments means they can rise to the operational challenges the region poses, particularly in the Andes and its high plateau, which have their own unique environment in terms of altitude and temperature.