The second H145D3 prototype flew earlier this month at the Airbus Helicopters Donauwörth, Germany facility. It will be used mainly for autopilot testing and performance and airframe structural validation as part of a flight-test program that aims to gain EASA certification for the helicopter in early 2020. The first prototype is being used for high-altitude testing in South America this summer.
Announced earlier this year at Heli-Expo, the new H145 variant features a new five-blade, bearingless main rotor system; two Safran Arriel 2E engines with Fadec; four-axis autopilot with the Helionix digital avionics suite; and an integrated wireless airborne communication system (wACS). Cumulatively, the improvements will give the H145 an increased useful load of 330 pounds and boost mtow to 8,377 pounds.
The upgrade will be offered as a retrofit kit for the current production H145D2. In addition to the aforementioned improvements, the retrofit kits will include a transmission kit consisting of rotor mast, swashplate, scissors, control rods with associated assembly, oil cooler, and rotor brake; an additional electrical hydraulic pump whose sole function is to test the hydraulic controls during preflight checks; a new forward cross-tube; and modification/tuning of the horizontal stabilizer. It deletes the 3-Hz landing gear dampers and the light active vibration control system found on the D2.