Panthers to assume ASW role in Indonesia

Airbus Helicopters has been selected to provide the Indonesian Navy with 11 AS-565 MBe Panther helicopters configured for Anti Submarine warfare.

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Indonesia will receive 11 AS565MBe naval helicopters, to be configured for anti-submarine warfare missions, operating from ships and shore. Photo: Airbus Helicopters

 

Indonesia will receive 11 AS565MBe naval helicopters, to be configured for anti-submarine warfare missions, operating from ships and shore. Photo: Airbus Helicopters
Indonesia will receive 11 AS-565MBe naval helicopters, to be configured for anti-submarine warfare missions, operating from ships and shore. Photo: Airbus Helicopters

Airbus Helicopters has been selected to provide 11 AS-565 MBe Panther helicopters for the Indonesian Navy, Airbus announced today. These rotorcraft will to be used for naval anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions, supporting operations from land bases and ships. The helicopters are scheduled for delivery within three years to Indonesia, where they will be outfitted for their ASW mission, before delivery to the Indonesian Navy. The mission equipment include the Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) dipping sonar and torpedo launching system.

Panther now becomes one of the world’s most capable light/medium anti-submarine warfare platforms, with an advanced ASW suite and the capability to operate from corvettes or small frigates

HELRAS DS-100 produced by L-3 comprises a descending vertical transmit array of seven projector elements and a receive array of eight hydraulically driven arms that expand to a diameter of 2.6 meters when deployed. The total weight of the system is about 350 kg. The AS-565 is configured to carry the Raytheon Mk 46 or Whitehead A.244/S lightweight ASW torpedoes.

HELRAS DS-100 dipping sonar. Photo: L-3 Systems.
HELRAS DS-100 dipping sonar. Photo: L-3 Systems.

The DS-100 is A 1.38 kHz version of the popular AQS-18A dipping sonar. The DS-100 is capable of operating at depths to 500 meters designed for long-range surveillance and underwater search. Using high resolution doppler processing and long shaped pulses, it can detect submarines even very low speed (near zero doppler signal). According to L-3, the DS-100 is also suited to redetection, target localization and weapon delivery against submarines at deep and shallow waters. The HELRAS is used with several types of helicopters, including the Italian Navy EH-101 and SH-3. A version of the system is also tailored for the ASW variant of the European NH-90.

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AS-565MBe is a navalized military variant of the French Panther. Photo: Airbus Helicopters

“The Panther now becomes one of the world’s most capable light/medium anti-submarine warfare platforms, with an advanced ASW suite and the capability to operate from corvettes or small frigates,” said Philippe Monteux, Head of Region South East Asia & Pacific at Airbus Helicopters.

He added that the Panther’s ASW capability would meet the naval requirements of other countries in the region.

Although the Panther has been available for many years, the new contract represents its first penetration to the Asian market. The reason for its slow entry to market is probably the competition form the Chinese built variant – Harbin Z-9 which was based on the SA-565 civilian variant – Dauphin. Beyond the Chinese Army and Navy the Z-9 is operating with Cambodia, Laos and Pakistan.

This order will add to the Indonesian Armed Forces’ fleet of Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft serving the Indonesian military, which currently operates the light EC120 Colibris for training; the Fennecs and BO-105 for light attack missions and the Pumas and Super Pumas operated by the Air Force. The Indonesian Air Force is expecting to receive the EC725 for combat search and rescue missions.

PT Dirgantara, Airbus’ strategic industrial partner in Indonesia is also involved in other programs, including the C-295 military transport. The agreements were secured by PT Dirgantara Indonesia as a result of its long-standing cooperation and strategic alliance with Airbus Helicopters. The President of PT Dirgantara Indonesia, Budi Santoso explained, “This latest contract demonstrates the strength and efficiency of our commercial and industrial partnership with Airbus Helicopters. Together, we are able to identify and deliver the most modern and cost-effective solutions for the Indonesian Government and at the same time associate the significant involvement of the Indonesian industry.”