The H145M is truly multirole aircraft, quickly reconfigurable between military and civil missions. Having 75% communality with the LAKOTA, the avionics were renewed including a glass cockpit, integrated with 4-axis autopilot, all manufactured by Airbus Helicopters. The aircraft furthermore features digital standby instrumentation and a flight management system.
First customer of this helicopter are the German Special Forces (KSK), who took first delivery in December 2015, having selected 15 with five delivered so far, in light utility role and armed reconnaisance. Currently the KSK is in crew training with all mission kits, learning to fight by day and night with the helicopter via its L-3 WESCAM MX-15 EO/IR gimbal, and its Rockwell Collins’ HF9000 communications suite. Other Special Forces equipment include SATCOM, classic self-protection shelf, and an electronic warfare system. Thales’ SCORPION Helmet Mounted Display (HHMD) can be integrated and is promoted by Airbus Helicopters; as well as the L-3 WESCAM MX-15 EO/IR gimbal. Weapons prompted by Airbus Helicopters during the presentation include the FN Herstal HMP400 12.7mm machine gun pod, FZ NATO standart rocket package (70mm rocket pod), Nexter’s 20mm gun pod, and DillonAero’s M134 machine gun, as well as the MAG58, all to be qualified up to the end of 2017.
Another customer for the H145M is the Royal Thai Navy, ordering five aircraft in an utility mode, and the Thai Army, ordering six helicopters for governmental VIP missions.
The helicopter’s cabin’s versatility is based on a plug and play system, being able to transform from an attack role to an utility role in two hours. It can carry up to six SOF with equipment, also featuring removable rear clamshell doors, so sniper or machine gun can cover the rear.
Christian Fanchini, Senior Operational Marketing Manager, Airbus Helictopers, explained that the company’s new HForce Generic Weapon System offers the high end of weapon systems with hardware developed by Rockwell Collins and software developed by Airbus Helicopters (iR&D). The system is able to accept HMDs for both pilot or gunner, and the full weapons suite.
It is based on the BK117 D2m type, has a 3.7t maximum take-off weight, features multi-purpose pylons, a self-sealing supply tank, a hardened windscreen, and Rockwell Collins’ CMA900 flight management system.
On the HForce Core System, Airbus Helicopters has integrated weapons, making the most out of Airbus Helicopters experience in weapon system integration, making the most out of the full spectrum of weapons from ballistic to guided. Boasting their helicopters as being truly multipurpose they can carry all types of weapons: Air-to-air and air-to-surface/ground. Gunner firing can be performed by EOS or the pilot firing with the HMD.
According to Fanchini, HForce is accurate and affordable, with a TIGER like crew resource management system. The armed scout H125, H145M light attack, and light utility, and the H225M utility helicopters have all been fitted with HForce. May 2015 saw entry into service, 1 flight in December 2015, and first firing campaign in May/June 2016 in Belgium. Qualification of the HForce Generic Weapon System on aircraft will be ready by the end of 2017. The first flight of an H145M with HForce is planned for the beginning of 2017.
The H145 and the AS565MBe PANTHER can be used in the armed scout light attack role or an utility role. HELLFIRE and SPIKE will be proposed in the future to customers, according to Christian Fanchini. He said that the French forces want to integrate an ITAR free solution. In terms of laser guided rockets we are working with, e.g. Roketsan.