Why U.S. Navy Uses Fleet Of Commercial Helicopters On Aircraft Carriers?

Why U.S. Navy Uses Fleet Of Commercial Helicopters On Aircraft Carriers?
Eurocopter EC225LP helicopter on the flight deck of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62).  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Harris/Released)

In the recent photo published on the Scramble Magazine report, U.S. Navy uses a fleet of commercial helicopters fleet in support of aircraft carriers and other warships.

In the below photo, we see two EC225LPs operated by Air Center Helicopters Incorporated performing vertical replenishment on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). ACHI owns a fleet of seventeen repurposed H225s, ten of which are in service with the US Armed Forces.

Why U.S. Navy Uses Fleet Of Commercial Helicopters On Aircraft Carriers?
Photo credit: US Navy

“ACHI owns a fleet of seventeen repurposed H225s, ten of which are in service with the US Armed Forces,” the Scramble Magazine message states.

These ten EC225LPs are:
N251EV, N252EV, N255EV, N256EV, N551AC, N552AC, N553AC, N570AC, N572AC and N576AC.

These aircraft are currently in operation with the U.S. Armed Forces for passenger transport, Special Operations Forces training, vertical replenishment, and casualty evacuation missions.

“Today these 10 civilian helicopters are on contract performing military missions for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army in three countries and two oceans. In a short amount of time, they have already accumulated more than 3,000 flight hours,” said Rod Tinney, CEO of Air Center Helicopters Inc in October.

ACHI’s helicopters were specially configured to meet the Navy’s strict requirements for offshore flying, tactical navigation, and communications. They were used for personnel and cargo transfers between ships, took part in radar tracking exercises and recovered aerial gunnery targets.

“Thanks to ACHI’s innovative approach, these civil aircraft have been swiftly put back in service for new missions with military customers, making their H225 fleet among the world’s largest,” also added Christoph Zammert, Executive Vice President of Customer Support & Services at Airbus Helicopters.

The H225 is a twin-engine helicopter that belongs to the famous SUPER PUMA /COUGAR family. Over 979 units, with total flight time in excess of 5,480,300 Flight Hours have been delivered to date, both for serving governmental (military and paramilitary missions) and commercial operators.

The H225 is a powerful and fast helicopter with long-range capabilities. It has a large useful cabin volume and accommodates various seating arrangements up to 19 passenger crashworthy seats in the cabin and 2 crew members in an exceptionally low vibration level environment.

Technical advancements developed by Airbus on the H225 include the modular design of the mechanical assemblies, the use of composite materials, state of the art avionics including LCD Multi-Functions Displays, Vehicle Monitoring System and Automatic Flight Control System allowing a new fully autonomous approach to rigs.

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