Learn about the technology behind HEMS, emergency medical services helicopters

TIME.CO, Jakarta – Indonesia hosted helicopter emergency medical services training (HEMS) or service medical emergency in the air for the second time since 2019. The training was again held at the “Veteran” campus of the National Development University (UPN) in Jakarta from 5 to 7 September 2023. The UPNVJ partnered with the Fondation de l’ Académie de Médecine (FAM) and the French Airbus Foundation to organize it.

HEMS is a medical emergency system that has matured in many countries around the world, especially in Europe and America. Meanwhile in Asia this system is still rare, even in Indonesia.

This was stated by Ralph Setz, representative of the FAM, on Monday 4 September 2023 at the press conference of the HEMS in the rectorate building of the UPNVJ. “HEMS does not currently exist in Indonesia, but it is everywhere in Europe,” he said. “So, this mission exists in many countries in Europe and America, but it’s still rare in Asia.”

Implementing HEMS in a country is a long process. According to Airbus Indonesia representative Regis Antomarchi, European and American countries also went through a long journey before reaching the current stage.

“This is a complex mission. In Western countries it takes decades to reach this level of maturity,” Regis said.

However, there is a possibility that the HEMS system could be implemented in Indonesia. Quoting from the Airbus website, the countries Indonesia, India, Brazil and Mexico are potential candidates for developing powerful HEMS in the coming decades.

HEMS technology

Also from the Airbus website, the biggest benefit of this system is that helicopters can get to a location three to five times faster than ground vehicles and are sometimes the only way to access inhospitable terrain. In this way, patients receive medical attention sooner and the chances of survival in critical cases increase significantly.


A number of innovations are underway to improve HEMS mission safety. From synthetic vision systems to satellite communications and self-learning artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, these technologies all aim to reduce pilot workload and increase operational safety.

A smaller vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) platform is under consideration for use as a ‘medical shuttle’ and could play a complementary role in future HEMS operations.

Used helicopters

HEMS training in Indonesia consists of theoretical and practical sessions. The final day will be full of trials involving three Airbus helicopters, namely two Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) Bo 105s and one AS365 N3.

The Bo 105 is one of the helicopters pioneering HEMS. Developed in the late 1970s, it is one of the most successful helicopters in HEMS. The special design of the Bo 105, with features such as a flat cabin floor, rear loading and high main and tail rotors, facilitates patient loading and contributes to its success.

Airbus products have played an important role in the development of the current HEMS system. According to Antonarchi, “We cover 60% of the helicopters used for HEMS worldwide”.

Editors’ Choice: UPN Jakarta Veteran Hosts HEMS, Helicopter Emergency Medical Training

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