On the 29th of September, the Mexican Navy took delivery of the first of the ten AS565 MBe Panther helicopters it purchased in 2014, becoming the first customer in the world to receive the new version of this multi-role, medium-class military rotorcraft. The Navy will receive three other units before the end of 2016 and the remaining six by early 2018.

The helicopters will be operated by the Naval Aviation in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Pacific coast, where they will perform a range of missions including Search and Rescue (SAR), disaster relief transportation and evacuation, drug enforcement and coastal protection.

The AS565 MBe is equipped with two Safran Arriel 2N engines, which enhance its performance in hot & high conditions and enable it to achieve a top speed of 278 km/h (172 mph) and a range of 780 kilometers (484 miles). It also has a new main gearbox, a latest-generation tail rotor and a 4-axis autopilot.

Mexican Naval Aviation’s AS565 MBe Panthers fulfill NATO’s regulatory requirements in performing landings on moving ships 24/7, and are thus able to operate right across Mexico’s territorial waters.