The Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) has commissioned its first two new AS565 MBe Panther helicopters and a Beechcraft King Air 350i transport aircraft.
The assets were inducted on 13 October at an airbase in Juanda, Surabaya in a commissioning ceremony presided over by TNI-AL chief Admiral Ade Supandi.
The King Air 350i twin turboprop aircraft will be operated by the TNI-AL’s 600 Skadron Udara as a VIP transport, while the helicopters will be deployed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) duties, said Adm Supandi in his address at the commissioning ceremony.
Indonesia has ordered 11 AS565 MBe Panther helicopters to bolster the TNI-AL’s embarked aviation and ASW capabilities. The first three airframes were delivered to Indonesian state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) in November 2016.
Airbus Helicopters will deliver the basic AS565 MBe air vehicles at Marignane for delivery to PTDI, with the Indonesian firm to reassemble and outfit the airframes with an ASW suite. This suite includes the L-3 Ocean Systems DS-100 HELRAS dipping sonar, a lightweight torpedo launching system, and a lightweight operator console.
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