The first of 32 new Airbus H135 and H145 helicopters were delivered to RAF Shawbury, Shropshire on April 3. Two Juno HT1s (H135s) G-CJIW/ZM505 and G-CJIT/ZM506, and a single Jupiter HT1 (H145) G-CJIV/ZM500 were delivered from the company’s facility at Kidlington, Oxfordshire after their service preparation work was complete. Juno and Jupiter helicopters will eventually replace the single-engine Squirrel HT1 (AS350 Ecureuil) and twin-engine Bell 412EP currently in service with the Defence Helicopter Training School.
Built at Airbus Helicopters’ manufacturing facility in Donauworth, Germany, the three helicopters arrived in the UK on December 8, 2016. Arrival at RAF Shawbury signals the beginning of a new era of military helicopter flight training in the UK, and an important milestone for the rotarywing component of the protracted UK Military Flying Training System, which is scheduled to commence by April 2018 and run until 2033.
Ascent Flight Training will provide helicopter training for the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and British Army Air Corps from Shawbury (basic and advanced rotary-wing training), and RAF Valley, Anglesey (mountain and maritime helicopter training).