At MSPO 2016, Airbus Helicopters hosted the “Hangar Party”, during which German and French crews answered the questions of trade visitors. During the meeting the company presented three helicopters: the H225M CARACAL multi-role helicopter, the EC665 TIGER assault helicopter, and the H145M light armed helicopter. All three were presented in a static display last year (however the H145M was only as a mock-up).
It is worth nothing that the H225M CARACAL was pre-selected by the Polish government and passed several flight tests in 2015. Later however a new government decided to halt this procurement. Airbus Helicopters still hopes that it will not be cancelled and Poland will ultimately buy the CARACALs. The H225M CARACAL helicopter presented at MSPO 2016 belongs to the 5e régiment d'hélicoptères de combat from Pau.
For the first time Airbus Helicopters sent to Kielce the H145M light, multirole helicopter. Last year only a mock-up was available to the audience. H145M is promoted as a versatile workhorse which can be used in various missions, including light utility and light combat. The version presented in Kielce belongs to the German Armed Forces.
The EC665 TIGER assault helicopter belongs to the 1 Régiment d’Hélicoptères de Combat from Phalsbourg-Bourscheid and it flew directly from Marignane, where facilities of the company are located. This helicopter competes in the KRUK programme (RAVEN) attack helicopter acquisition programme, which was announced in July 2014. Other competitors are AH-64E GUARDIAN and T-129B ATAK. KRUK’s goal is to replace Polish ageing fleet of 29 Mi-24W/D helicopters (acquired mainly in the 1980s with additional batch of ex-East German Ds in 1996). Currently the tender for up to 32 new helicopters is delayed. Airbus Helicopters believes that a procurement of the TIGER helicopter would be a logic step and the combination of H225 CARACAL and EC665 TIGER would allow Poland to save financial and time resources in terms of training, logistic and maintenance.
Another element of the portfolio of the Airbus Group at MSPO was the A330MRTT multi-role tanker. It was underlined that the A330 MRTT can be used not only as a tanker (110 tons of fuel in a regular tanker configuration) but also as a transport aircraft, capable of accommodating up to 300 soldiers or 45 tons of equipment. The MEDEVAC version can be equipped with 130 stretchers.
Airbus Group again promoted at its stand the Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighter jet. At MSPO 2016 the representatives of a company confirmed that 599 jets have been ordered so far. At the same time the Orlik multi-purpose trainer was presented. The current version has a digital, integrated avionics and a new flight control system.
Recently Airbus Group became more involved in the Polish space sector. During MSPO 2016 the company’s space activities were highlighted more than last year. The company underlined that in June 2016 it pledged to build so-called “clean rooms” in Poland, which will allow the production of high-tech equipment for satellites and space probes. Its planned size is 500 m2. These facilities will be used by PZL Warszawa-Okęcie, a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space, and the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ, Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa).
During MSPO 2016 the Airbus Group promoted the AstroBuS-S Earth observation satellites for very-high resolution (VHR) applications.