Airbus Helicopters Signs New Agreement in Indonesia

 - April 6, 2017, 11:14 AM
The first two H225M Cougar helicopters in full combat SAR configuration were handed over to the Indonesian air force by PTDI last November. (Photo: PTDI)

Airbus Helicopters and Indonesian Aerospace (Indonesian acronym PTDI) signed a new agreement to jointly develop local support and MRO services for the helicopters that PTDI supplies to the Indonesian military and government agencies. The two companies have been cooperating for more than 40 years, during which time they have delivered some 160 helicopters to southeast Asia’s largest country. In most cases, they have been delivered from Europe in a "green" state, for completion and mission-equipping by PTDI at its factory in Bandung.

“Indonesia plays an extremely important role in Airbus Helicopters’ global industrial footprint, and this expanded cooperation with our longstanding trusted partner speaks of our continued commitment to invest into Indonesia’s aerospace industry,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “We are also happy to be part of a strengthened alliance that would help develop Indonesia’s technical competency in helicopter maintenance,” said Budi Santoso, CEO and president of PTDI.

Airbus Helicopters said that PTDI had “implemented a robust reorganization” of its support activities. In particular, the European company said its own subsidiary in Indonesia had become involved alongside PTDI in maintenance of the NAS-332 Super Puma helicopters that the Indonesian air force (Indonesian acronym TNU-AU) operates as Presidential and VIP transports. There has recently been a controversy in Indonesia over an acquisition of three Leonardo AW101 helicopters by the previous commander of the TNI-AU. The status of that acquisition is still unclear.

PTDI has now delivered to the TNI-AU four of the six H225M Cougar helicopters that the service ordered for the combat SAR mission. The final pair should follow in the next few weeks. The first of these H225Ms was handed over at the Airbus Helicopters factory in Marignane, France, as long ago as November 2014. Their completion and delivery to the TNI-AU was delayed by various factors, including the gearbox trouble that has afflicted the civilian EC225 fleet after a 2012 ditching, and the late delivery of some mission equipment to Bandung. PTDI has equipped the six H225Ms with EO/IR sensor balls, FN Herstal 7.62mm machine guns and its own 2.75-inch rocket launchers.

The next major program at Bandung is the completion of 11 AS365 Mbe Panther helicopters for the Indonesian Navy. Following their handover at Marignane last November, the first two of these have arrived at Bandung following a long journey by seafreight. PTDI will add a dipping sonar (from L3 Com); A244/S torpedos (from Leonardo); and its own ASW mission display console.

Another ongoing program is the completion of 12 Fennec helicopters for the Indonesian Army. The first of these (an AS350B3) was handed over for training in 2015. It was followed in January this year by two AS550C3 helicopters that have been armed by PTDI with machine guns and rocket launchers. Another three of this type, and six twin-engine AS555APs, are all scheduled for delivery this year. More orders could follow, as the Army seeks to replace its aging Bo105s.

Despite the longstanding cooperation, a press release from Airbus Helicopters implied that it had not yet recognized PTDI as an approved completion and services center. But this would be done “upon [PTDI] successfully passing quality and safety audits,” the European company continued.