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.