The Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil) has received its final H135 (UH-17 in Brazilian Armed Forces service) lightweight twin-engine multipurpose helicopter from helicopter manufacturer Helibras, the Brazilian division of Airbus Helicopters. The helicopter is part of a contract to supply three H135s, which will carry out various missions such as cargo transportation, naval inspection, air medical, and search-and-rescue, among others. These replace the AS355F2 Écureuil (UH-13 in local service) helicopters of the Squadron Águia. The first H135s were delivered in 2020.
The helicopter features aeromedical kits and equipment while all three units have a cargo hook, an emergency flotation system, a winch, as well as weather radar. They will support a range of missions such as special operations, transport of troops and freight, naval inspection, search and rescue, and medical evacuation. The second of overall three helicopters to be delivered under a contract from 2019 will support the Brazilian Antarctic Program (PROANTAR), flying from ships operating in the region. PROANTAR is the Brazilian government’s program to support research in Antarctica, with two research vessels sailing in the region’s waters.
The H135 is a twin-engine light utility helicopter produced by Airbus Helicopters. It is capable of flight under instrument flight rules and is outfitted with a digital automatic flight control system (AFCS). First flying on 15 February 1994, it entered service in 1996, and 1,400 have been delivered up to September 2020 to 300 operators in 60 countries, accumulating over 5 million flight hours. It is mainly used for helicopter emergency medical services, law enforcement, offshore wind support, and military flight training. Currently, about 130 H135 units are in operation by the navies of several countries such as Germany, Australia, Spain, Japan, and the United Kingdom.