Airbus Helicopters is preparing to deliver the first military versions of the H145 (previously EC145 T2) twin-engine helicopter, after receiving a civil certification from the European Air Safety Agency (EASA). The first customer for the H145M is the German army, which will receive the first two of 15 on order by the end of the year. Deliveries to the second customer – the Royal Thai Navy – will begin next year.
The EC145 T2 was first unveiled in 2011, and received its EASA ‘ticket’ last year. It is already selling well as a civilian and parapublic rotorcraft, and is claimed by Airbus to offer low operating costs and high dispatch reliability. By also seeking EASA approval for the H145M, “we pursued a low-risk and low-cost approach for our customers, avoiding a costly and duplicative military certification,” said Airbus Helicopters.
Compared with the H145, the H145M has an increased mtow of 3.7 metric tons and can be equipped with mission equipment that includes a pintle-mounted door gun. Further, the H145M can carry weapons on external pylons; use electro optical/infrared sensors with targeting capability; and be fitted with military avionics for communications, navigation and flight management. A rope-down system is available for special operations, and overall survivability is enhanced by the H145M’s crew ballistic protection, its self-sealing fuel tanks, and electronic warfare self-protection against missile threats.
Airbus helicopters also announced that it won a seven-year support and services contract for the German H145Ms. Based at Laupheim airbase, these helicopters will primarily be used for special forces missions, the company added.