First Panther Helicopter Formally Delivered and Introduced into Service with Bulgarian Navy

Pan.bg 08 ное 2011 | 16:07 views (3055) commentaries(0)
img Photos - D.Stavrev, Club Wings magazine

The first Panther helicopter was formally delivered and introduced into service with the Bulgarian Navy. The formal delivery ceremony was held at Chayka Naval Helicopter Air Base, Varna, today, October 9th.
In his address at the ceremony, Rear Admiral Plamen Manushev, Navy Commander, thanked Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Defence Minister Anu Anguelov and the Government for the funds allocated for the needs of the Navy. “For the first time since I have been serving, the Bulgarian Navy has received the best of equipment available in the world,” he pointed out.
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov claimed that Bulgarian servicemen deserve the best, and emphasised that the helicopter is an important acquisition with regard to the security of Bulgarian Schengen border.
At the ceremony, Minister Anguelov congratulated the Air Base personnel on the acquisition of the new aircraft and underlined that the Panthers may also be used by other government agencies and ministries, as they are well-equipped and capable of performing various tasks in peace- and war-time environments, and in various situations of crisis, accidents, and emergency.
The helicopter is capable of covering a vast array of naval missions such as offshore patrolling and maritime surveillance, search and rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), supplying and lifting loads to and from ship decks or hard-to-access terrain (vertical replenishment – VERTREP), counter-terrorism, humanitarian operations, counter-piracy, etc. The Panther helicopter has an all weather day-and-night capability. Some of the missions it can perform were demonstrated in a spectacular demonstration flight of the helicopter after it was formally introduced into service with the Navy and was inaugurated for service in a religious ceremony led by His Grace Metropolitan Cyril of Varna and Velicky Preslav.
The ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Ivaylo Moskovski, Deputy Minister of Defence Valentin Radev, Deputy Chief of Defence Vice Admiral Minko Kavaldzhiev, Varna District Governor Dancho Simeonov, Members of Parliament, senior military representatives of the local authorities, the Ministry of Defence, the French Embassy and the supplier company Eurocopter.
The Panther helicopter is equipped with a torpedo-launching system; a cabin-mounted 20 mm cannon gun pod; a ship deck landing system; an infrared surveillance system;




a search and rescue radar, combined with weather radar; emergency floatation gear; double hoist, abseiling, fast roping systems with four stations on the helicopter; night vision goggles; stretcher systems; cargo loading stations, etc. The above characteristics rank the Panther among the most advanced multi-role naval helicopters in NATO.
The helicopter received is the first out of the three Panthers to be delivered for the Bulgarian Navy under an Agreement entered into with the French company Eurocopter. The aircraft are to arrive by the end of the year. In August and September earlier this year, six pilots and nine aviation engineers from the Bulgarian Navy completed successfully their training at Eurocopter’s training centre in France. Twelve Cougar helicopters have already been delivered for the Air Force under the Agreement with Eurocopter.

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