Airbus Helicopters will build two military versions of its H125 turbine single at its U.S. manufacturing plant in Columbus, Mississippi, the company announced this week. The AH-125 Ares will be configured as the armed variant of the helicopter, while the MH-125 Ares will be capable of a wide range of operations.
MAG Aerospace will perform the weapons installation design, engineering, certification, and manufacturing. The helicopter variants will accommodate diverse weapons such as a .50-caliber gun and unguided rockets, with precision-guided weapons as a growth option. The installation allows for doors-on flights. With its new flexible weapons capability, the AH-125 can be reconfigured between multiple mission sets in less than 30 minutes. Missions include light attack, air assault, search and rescue, casualty evacuation, and disaster response.
“The AH-125 and MH-125 Ares helicopters will offer the capability, reliability, and flexibility needed by America’s allies and partners as they perform an array of rotary-wing missions, ranging from light attack to disaster response and other parapublic missions,” said Scott Tumpak, v-p of military business, Airbus U.S. Space and Defense.
With more than 100 H125 family aircraft in service, the U.S. government is the largest customer and operator of the aircraft. It is the light enforcement helicopter used by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. Other notable Airbus Helicopters fleets in service with the U.S. government include more than 480 UH-72A and UH-72B Lakotas delivered to the U.S. Army and National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard’s fleet of nearly 100 MH-65s.