Airbus Helicopters announced on October 27 that it has delivered its first two H145M twin-engine utility helicopters to the Ecuadorian Air Force – the first military customer of the type in South America.
In total, Airbus Helicopters will deliver six H145Ms to the South American nation over the next year and will provide in-country training for 12 pilots and 15 technicians. Delivery of the first two aircraft coincides with the Ecuadorian Air Force celebrating the 100th anniversary since its formation on October 27, 1920. Known as the “Cobra” in Ecuadorian service, the H145Ms will be assigned to the 22nd Combat Wing in Guayaquil, which is located in the nation’s Guayas province.
Col Franck Cevallos, commander of the 22nd Combat Wing, said: “We are very happy to have new advanced technology equipment to help face our country’s operational challenges, where high performance helicopters are needed to fly in the Andes at up to 6,000m (20,000ft), in the jungle or on the coast.”
When operational, the six helicopters will be used to support border surveillance, anti-drug trafficking, medical evacuation, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR), transport and search and rescue (SAR) operations. The H145M is equipped with a cargo hook and an electro-optical camera for reconnaissance missions. It also features a rescue crane, stretchers and a searchlight for use in rescue operations.
Col Chiriboga, head of air operations with the Ecuadorian Air Force, added: “Thanks to the installed mission equipment, it will be possible to move quickly from a rescue to a transport mission, reinforcing the air force’s response capacity for disaster relief and other missions in support of the public.”
In a press release, the commercial vice president of Airbus Helicopters’ Latin America division, Julien Negrel, congratulated the Ecuadorian Air Force on reaching its centenary milestone. He added that “the new H145 will increase [the air arm’s] operational capabilities thanks to its versatility and high performce in hight and hot conditions and will allow them to face any mission with greater efficiency and serenity.”
There are at least 40 examples of a variety of platforms manufactured by Airbus Helicopters in Ecuadorian military and civil service. “Ecuador’s Ministry of Defence has been an Airbus customer for 40 years and I appreciate their confidence in our brand when it comes to renewing the country’s aerial capabilities with next-generation helicopters,” Negrel added.