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The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has received three TH-135 trainers over the past two months. Chikako Hirano Photo/Airbus Helicopters Japan
Airbus Helicopters Japan has handed over three TH-135 training helicopters to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The three aircraft delivered between October and December are the JMSDF’s 11th, 12th and 13th units.
The TH-135 is a variant of Airbus Helicopters’ light twin-engine EC135 T2+ that has been customized for JMSDF. Meant to replace their single-engine training helicopter fleet, deliveries of the TH-135 began in 2009 and have been in operation since 2011.
“The on-time delivery of all 13 TH-135 helicopters so far has been a great achievement,” said Stephane Ginoux, managing director of Airbus Helicopters Japan. “We are also providing our full support for the maintenance and operation of the fleet, including prompt delivery of spare parts and technical support, to ensure the safe and efficient training of JMSDF pilots.”
Tailored for advanced training missions, the EC135 is well adapted for aircrew of defense forces operating new-generation multi-role or combat helicopters. Japan was one of the first countries in Asia to acquire the TH-135 variant for its training, with Australia being the latest to join the increasing number of countries around the world to adopt this helicopter type for their training systems.
A total of nearly 1,200 EC135s have been delivered worldwide for a variety of missions ranging from pilot training and law enforcement to emergency medical services and search and rescue. The high operation rate and ease of maintenance contributing to its low life-cycle cost has made the EC135 a popular aircraft in Japan, where about 80 of such helicopter types are operating in the country today in multiple missions.