The versatility of Airbus’ twin-engine Panther AS565 MBe, derived from the civil Dauphin family, has been proven in operational duties that include front-line operations with multi-national forces and air-to-surface combat.
With its compact airframe, the AS565 MBe is used on ships and from land bases, capable of carrying a variety of weapons. In addition to its own intercept and attack capabilities, this helicopter serves as a “force multiplier” by providing over-the-horizon surface awareness and targeting to surface ships.
Benefitting from an endurance of more than four hours at loiter speed, the AS565 MBe is an affordable alternative to other light/medium helicopters that are limited in their ability to perform its diverse range of naval missions. The rotorcraft utilizes Airbus’ composite Starflex rotor heads, blades and airframe for excellent performance and corrosion resistance, along with the signature Fenestron® tail rotor that provides a high level of maneuverability and safety – especially in confined shipborne operations.
The Panther is today in service with the navies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It is equipped with a magnetic anomaly detector, radar and two torpedoes for anti-submarine warfare applications, and with four lightweight missiles for strike missions in the anti-surface unit warfare role. When used for naval assault, the Panther serves as a capable tactical transport helicopter while transporting a combat group, escorted by another one armed with a 20-mm. gun.
Capable of operating in all-weather conditions, the AS565 MBe features modern cockpit avionics that include Airbus’ automatic flight control system (AFCS) and flight management system. The helicopter is qualified to operate from more than 100 classes of NATO ships, and complies with NATO standardization agreements (STANAGs).