Airbus – Aerospatiale at the time – won the USCG contract for nearly 100 MH-65 Dauphin helicopters for short-range recovery missions in 1979. It was the beginning of a new era for the small north Texas aviation company. Supporting any large fleet of this size is an undertaking, and supporting the nearly 100 MH-65 helicopters still flying today – the first of which was delivered in 1984 – presents no shortage of logistical and component challenges.
To help support the through-life objectives of the USCG, Airbus Helicopters recently renewed its commitment to support their fleet through a 10-year sustaining contract, with the goal of improving spare parts availability and planning and providing increased Airbus support. The contract includes dedicated personnel, training, and technical publications.
Upgrading the fleet of MH-65s
Airbus Helicopters has also been working with the Coast Guard to upgrade the existing fleet of MH-65s with a digital avionics suite, major structural modifications and new electrical wiring throughout the aircraft. These modifications will help prolong the aircraft’s service life beyond 2035.
“We are proud of our decades-long partnership with the Coast Guard and honored to support a team who flies 24/7, often in treacherous conditions, with the ultimate goal of saving lives and protecting our nation,” said Anthony Baker, Vice President of Customer Support at Airbus Helicopters.
A total of eight Airbus Helicopters personnel in the US and France are dedicated to the new support contract, including two employees on-site at the Coast Guard’s facility in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, US.
“Supporting the Coast Guard is among our very top priorities at Airbus Helicopters,” Baker said. “They’ve committed to being ‘always ready’ to support those in need in sea or on land, and we’re putting in place the necessary steps so we can remain ready to support them when they need us.”
In March, Airbus Helicopters handed over the seventh and last H145 for the search and rescue service of the Bundeswehr to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support in Germany.