NMB-Minebea Thai, a manufacturer of small bearings, high-precision small motors, mechanical parts and other electronic devices and components, has placed an order with Kawasaki Heavy Industries for its H145//BK117 D-3 helicopter (D-3). This is the first time Kawasaki has received a D-3 order from overseas, and the customer plans to utilise the helicopter for transport operations of its employee and related personnel in Thailand after the delivery scheduled in March 2022.
The D-3 is an improved version of the current BK117 D-2 (D-2). The D-3 inherits the advantages of the BK117 series such as large cabin space with a full flat floor, versatile and large rear clam shell doors, improved high-altitude hovering performance, lower noise and the state of the art avionics, while improving performance as listed below by the adoption of new features such as the latest five-blade main rotor system.
MTOW has been increased by approximately 100 kg, and the total empty weight has been reduced by approximately 50kg, increasing the useful load of the D-3 by approximately 150 kg. A contribution of fewer inspection items and intervals, and the adoption of a modern, easy-to-maintain main rotor system, is designed to lead to a 50 per cent reduction in maintenance.
The BK117 is a medium-sized, twin-engine helicopter developed jointly with Airbus Helicopters, and is used for various purposes including emergency medical services, firefighting, disaster relief, law enforcement, broadcasting, and personnel and cargo transport. Following delivery of the first model in 1983, this helicopter has been continually improved over the years, and thanks to the aircraft's outstanding technological strengths and high reliability, Kawasaki has successfully delivered 179 units as of June 17, 2020, and more than 1,600 worldwide with deliveries of Airbus Helicopters combined.