Airbus Helicopters announced on May 15 that its H145M has been certified by the European EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) airworthiness authority, clearing the way for military type approval and initial two deliveries of this multi-role twin-engine military rotorcraft before year-end. Its first customer is the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces), which has ordered 15 of the type for operation by the German Air Force. First deliveries for the second H145M customer, the Royal Thai Navy, will begin in 2016.
Germany ordered its H145Ms under a contract signed on July 11, 2013, at which time the type was still designated the EC645T2. When launching its all-new H160 model on March 3, 2015, the company also announced the re-designation of its helicopter product line, replacing the AS and EC prefixes with an H prefix, while also renumbering some models. The Thai Navy contract for five H145Ms was signed on September 2, 2014.
“The H145M is tailored for a wide range of military operations – including transportation, reconnaissance, search and rescue, fire support and evacuations of wounded personnel. By using a civil certification for the H145M, we pursued a low-risk and low-cost approach for our customers, avoiding a costly and duplicative military qualification. This process also benefitted from the H145’s own civil certification last year, ensuring that the latest standards for safety and airworthiness are met”, said Manfred Merk, H145 Programme Director.
The H145M is based on Airbus Helicopters’ enhanced H145 civilian and parapublic rotorcraft (previously designated the EC145 T2). It has an increased maximum take-off weight of 3.7 metric tons and can be equipped with mission equipment that includes a pintle-mounted door gun and the ability to carry weapons on external pylons; electro optical/infrared sensors with targeting capability; as well as 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.
te company says that the new model benefits from the robustness, low operating costs and high operational availability of Airbus Helicopters’ proven EC145/H145 family. The new H145M features Turbomeca Arriel-2E engines with dual-channel full authority digital engine controls (FADEC), a Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, along with upgraded main and tail rotor gearboxes. This enhanced rotorcraft’s maximum gross take-off weight is increased by 50kg, while Airbus says that its outstanding hover performance – even in one-engine inoperative situations – is crucial for flight safety and mission success, especially during special operations duties and combat search & rescue duties. Alan Warnes