A batch of five Airbus Helicopters H135s acquired by the UK and then immediately mothballed have arrived at their new home in Australia.

Earlier this year, Canberra agreed to take the five light-twins on lease to bolster its training fleet.

H135 UK-c-Crown Copyright

Source: Crown Copyright

UK also uses H135 as training helicopter

Images posted on social media show the dismantled helicopters being unloaded from a Boeing 747-400 freighter at Sydney International airport on 22 April. The H135s are also no longer listed on the UK civil register.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) acquired the five helicopters in 2021 under Project Matcha intending them as a replacement for the Army Air Corps’ now retired fleet of Aerospatiale Gazelles in Northern Ireland. The H135s were delivered direct from Germany in 2022.

However, due to what the MoD said was an improved security situation in Northern Ireland they never saw active service and were instead placed into storage.

Neither party has disclosed the value of the five-year lease. They will be based at the Australian army’s aviation training centre in Oakey, Queensland.

Announcing the deal in February, Australian defence minister Richard Marles said the H135s would help Australian army pilots keep their flying hours up as they await the delivery of Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks.

Australia already uses a fleet of 15 H135s in the training role under the Boeing-led HATS programme. The UK also operates the H135 in a training role, where it is known as the Juno HT1.