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Previously known as the EC135, the Airbus H135 is a twin-engine light helicopter which was originally developed from the MBB Bo 105 helicopter and the Bo 108 technology demonstrator. Over 1,400 have been built to date and have been used for a variety of roles including training, police and corporate transports. The standard H-135 is also operated by the RAF as the Juno HT1 training helicopter and has been chosen to replace the Gazelle AH.1 with the Army Air Corps in 2024. A specialised military version known as the H135M has also been developed and is fitted with ballistic protection, machine gun mounts, military standard avionics and it can also use rocket pods mounted on side pylons.
The RAF operate 29 Juno HT1 as its basic and advanced rotary wing training helicopter, and it is flown by No.1 Flying Training School at RAF Shawbury - No.1 FTS is a tri-service school. Basic training is provided by 660 Squadron Army Air Corps and 705 Naval Air Squadron. Whilst depending on frontline type to be flown, advanced training is provided by 60 Squadron RAF or 670 Squadron Army Air Corps. The Helicopters are provided under lease by Airbus via Ascent as part of the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS), a 25-year PFI provided by Lockheed Martin and Babcock.
No.1 FTS will be providing a pair of Juno HT.1s for static display at this year's Air Tattoo. It is planned for one to appear in the RAF experience and for the other to be parked together with an example of each type that form the MFTS.
Photo Credit: Glenn Stanley