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Airbus Helicopters highlights H145M’s special forces suitability

written by | June 22, 2016
Soldiers fast rope from a German Bundeswehr H145M.

Airbus Helicopters has highlighted the suitability of its H145M light utility military helicopter for the special forces support role.

The new military development of the H145, the latest evolution of the BK117/EC145 family of light twin helicopters, is entering service with the German Army to support its Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) special forces unit, with the first of 15 on order handed over on December 8 last year.

“With this delivery, the special forces get a specially configured helicopter designed to take us to our area of operation,” Brigadier General Dag Baehr, Commander of the German Special Forces, said at the delivery ceremony.


“Its performance greatly exceeds our requirements by far and it is perfectly suited to take our units to the tactical insertion point in urban environments.”

Not surprisingly the specific fitout of the German H145Ms has not been publicly revealed.

“I cannot detail what the special operation forces the German customer is getting in detail,” Mark Henning, head H145 program government business for Airbus Helicopters, told media on Tuesday.

“But I can tell you what is off-the-shelf available in our range now because that customer as well as other customers have bought them or are currently buying them.”


Henning explained that “classical” special forces equipment available on the H145M include a self-protection suite, armour protection, fast roping system, and door guns like the standard MAG 58 machine gun.

“These kinds of equipment are the equipments the customers are asking for … for these kinds of missions.”

Other standard features of the H145M include external weapon pylons for gun pods or rocket launchers, self-sealing fuel tanks, a CMA9000 flight management system and hardened windscreen, while optional equipment includes an electro-optical sensor with laser designator, an armament control system and helmet mounted sight.

The H145M’s second customer is the Royal Thai Navy, which has ordered five, while the type could also be of interest to the Australian Army to meet a new requirement detailed in the new Defence White Paper for a “fleet of light reconnaissance and attack helicopters” for special forces support.

A H145M demonstrator fitted with an EO sensor, rocket launcher and dummy door-mounted machine gun.

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  • Fabian


    I would like to see this helicopter in the Australian army. Although I am hoping a mix fleet between the uh-1z viper and uh-1y venom in the Australian army. They are marinised and currently with the us marine corps. If only the Australian defence force had enough money to get all 3 types of the helicopters. This lies in the hand of the upcoming priminister from the elections. The h145m looks increasingly cool in Australian army camouflage and pylon missles.

  • Stuart


    Given our recent experience with European designed battlefield helicopters, I wouldn’t touch this thing with the proverbial 10ft barge pole

  • Tim


    Let’s hope that when the defence force does select a helicopter for the ‘fleet of light of lreconnaissance attack helicopters” they learn from the mistakes of past and select a helicopter with proven ability. Our defence force is to small to risk wasting money on products still in the devoop,ect phase such as the Tiger and MRH90s.

  • oscar


    Will these eventually replace the Blackhawks with 173 Aviation Squadron and be “marinised” for use on the LHDs?

  • Harry


    No they won’t replace the blackhawks… the Special Forces would just demand/get/buy the next series of Blackhawks the S-70s. The army will be using Blackhawks and then the NH90s. These, if they are bought would be for training and maybe light recon. So no they wouldn’t be marinised. The follow on to the Tigers, whether its cobra-Zs or whatever would be marinised I would think.

  • Law


    Some fairly speculative comments. From the Whitepaper:
    “A new capability for the ADF will be introduced with the acquisition of dedicated light helicopters to support Special Forces operations. These light helicopters can be rapidly deployed in C-17s, and can insert, extract and provide fire support for small teams of Special Forces undertaking tasks ranging from tactical observation through to counter-terrorism missions, or hostage recovery.”
    That’s *new* capability. Not replacing old. Attack and transport helicopters and their replacements are a totally separate topic to this. The ADF is looking for small numbers of light utility/light attack/recce helicopters.
    The H145M is a newish variant of a helicopter that has been in production for over 15 years and is widely used by police, rescue and military operators including the US military as a slightly different variant known as the UH-72 Lakota to replace ageing UH-1’s. It was developed from the older H135 which Australia has been (successfully) taking delivery of for the Helicopter Aircrew Training System. It’s not exactly an unproven or new design.
    It is a very solid option for the quoted requirement. It supports common weapons and potential for laser guided rockets such as APKWS using IR/TV EO sight with laser designator. Fast roping and hoist. 8-10 troops or two stretchers and attendants. Rear and side doors. Ballistic, EW and self-protection systems and SS tanks. According to a EADS director, 5 of a similar variant (AAS-72X) fit into a C-17.
    It’s a very complete package. I would be very interested to see what the other contenders offer.

  • Paul


    Harry and Oscar,

    The H145M won’t replace the Blackhawk, but it may be a contender for the “Special Operations Light Helicopter” outlined in the Integrated Investment Program (Section 5.29) released with the 2016 Defence White Paper. Due for consideration in the 2019+ timeframe.

  • Harry


    Paul, Yes I agree. I got stuck on the replacement bit without commenting on the SO Light helicopter aspect. Totally agree, its very promising for that role.

  • Harry


    Actually I did say above that they would be considered for the light recon role

  • BJ


    It isn’t exactly a new capability, its replacing the Kiowa’s that were used by 6 Aviation Regiment before for SOCOMD.

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