Enstrom to provide helicopters to JGSDF
March 10, 2010, Menominee, MI - Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has recently been chosen by the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) to supply the next generation of training helicopters for the JGSDF Pilot Training Program.
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
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."
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."