Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has recently been chosen by the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force to supply the next generation of training helicopters for the JGSDF Pilot Training Program. The program calls for the first evaluation helicopter to be delivered in 2010, with a total of 30 aircraft to be delivered by 2014. Enstrom was chosen in a competitive bidding process over two formidable manufacturers. This marks the second major training program Enstrom has been awarded in the last year. In combination with the 16 helicopters slated for the Royal Thai Army, Enstrom's 480B trainer backlog now stands at 46 aircraft.
“The JGSDF bidding and selection process is extremely rigorous,” commented Enstrom's Managing Representative in Asia, David Blake, of Blake & DeJong Ltd. “To be chosen after such an exhausting review really shows that Enstrom and the 480B are serious contenders for military training aircraft. With two large training programs won, in competitions that included all the major manufacturers, it is becoming apparent that the 480B is becoming the military trainer of choice around the world.”
Enstrom's representative in Japan, Aero Facility, led the effort with the JGSDF Training Program. “15 years ago when we brought the first 480 into Japan, I realized that this would be the perfect helicopter for the JGSDF,” said Mitsuo Hattori, Aero Facility's Aviation Department Director. “Since then I've been working to raise awareness of the 480B and to help Enstrom take advantage of this opportunity. To finally see the successful result is a great honor. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I know that we will be supplying the JGSDF with the best helicopter for their training mission.”
Enstrom's first turbine helicopter, the TH-28, was originally developed as a training aircraft for the US Army. Later it was developed into the commercial variant 480, and subsequently the 480B. “It's good to see things come full circle,” commented Jerry Mullins, Enstrom's President and CEO. “To see the 480B established as a premier turbine training helicopter really validates what we started with in the TH-28. I feel the JGSDF is really going to appreciate the stability, safety, and economy of the 480B. This is a huge step forward for Enstrom. Combined with our Royal Thai Army program, we now have a steady baseline of production for the next several years. This will allow us to further develop the aircraft and take advantage of even more opportunities. We are extremely excited about the added potential these programs bring to Enstrom.”
Enstrom is represented in Asia by Blake & DeJong Ltd., and in Japan by Aero Facility. For more information on Blake & DeJong Ltd., please contact [email protected] For more information on Aero Facility, please visit http://www.aero.co.jp/.
Founded in 1959, Enstrom Helicopter Corporation manufactures a complete line of helicopters. The three-seat, piston-powered F28F and 280FX are popular training, sport, and light commercial aircraft. The larger turbine-powered 480B is available as a three-place advanced trainer and patrol aircraft, a 2+2 four seat training helicopter, or as a three to five place executive transport. For law enforcement applications Enstrom produces a specialized variant of the 480B, known as the Guardian, and the F28F, called the Sentinel. Enstrom can be found on the Internet at http://www.enstromhelicopter.com/.