NMB-Minebea receives Kawasaki H145/BK117 D-3 helicopter

A Kawasaki H145 helicopter in flight
Photo Credit: Kawasaki Heavy Industries

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. has announced the delivery of an H145/BK117 D-3 helicopter (“D-3”) to Thai-Japanese company NMB-Minebea Thai Ltd. in Thailand. 

Gaining traction

Kawasaki Heavy Industries is licensed to build Airbus’ H145 helicopters, and they are mainly sold within Japan and a handful of Asian countries.

Thailand is one of the best markets for helicopters outside of Japan, as this becomes the seventh D-3 variant delivery so far, and the first outside of Japan.

The helicopter was purchased for transporting employees of NMB-Minebea and related partners in Thailand. 

The Thai-based D-3

The new helicopter bears the registration of the HS-MMI with serial number 21052. The helicopter intends to replace the aging Eurocopter EC 145 (HS-MAC) or the D-2 version. 

Improved D-3 variant

The D-3 variant is an improved variant of the former BK117 D-2 (“D-2”). The D-3 possesses the most advantageous features found on all BK117 series.

Features include a large cabin space, allowing passengers to navigate around hassle-free, a full-flat floor, appropriate for medical evacuation, a durable clamshell doors, also convenience in supporting multi-role missions; search and rescue, VIP and transport of goods.


In terms of flight performance, the D-3 has the ability to perform high-altitude hovering performance and lower noise generation is equipped with the latest sensors, and a state of the art avionics suite for pilots, which improves safety. 

The most notable upgrade from the D-2 to the D-3 is the introduction of the latest main rotor system which has five-blade instead of the four main blades.

There are numerous benefits from having the added blade, this includes an increase of ‘useful load’ weight by nearly 150 kilograms.

This means the Maximum Takeoff Weight has been edged up by nearly 100 kilograms and the Basic Empty Weight is reduced by 50 kilograms. Therefore, the overall useful load of the D-3 is increased by nearly 150 kilograms.

The second and final point is the D-3 claims to reduce maintenance periods by nearly half. This is made possible by fewer inspection items and intervals, due to the D-3’s introduction of newer technologies which are seamless to be maintained. 

About the BK117

The BK117 or commonly known as the H145, is a twin-engine aircraft, a medium-sized helicopter developed and manufactured jointly with Airbus Helicopters.

The BK117, like the H145, has identical looks and performance and is used globally for numerous purposes.

Roles include HEMS, Medical Evacuation, Law Enforcement, Disaster Relief, VIP Charter, Cargo Transportation, Media and Broadcasting, and Private usage.

1983 was the year that the helicopter was first delivered, and has been performing impressively for its operators over the years since then.

The aircraft has outstanding technical capability and high reliability. The Japanese company delivered 189 BK117s as of today. 

Despite being identical to the Airbus H145, Kawasaki has continued to improve its BK117. The Japanese firm continues to strive to be service-oriented and emphasize sales and after-sales services.

By Indy Udol 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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