PAS19: Airbus’ East European Helicopters

By David Oliver

At Le Bourget, Airbus Helicopters showcased its HForce on the latest of nine H145M helicopters ordered by the Republic of Serbia Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior in 2016. The H145Ms that will replace the Serbian Air Force and Police Force Gazelle helicopters are equipped with the Airbus Helicopter HForce weapons system that is an incremental, modular and cost-efficient weapon system that can be used on any military version of Airbus Helicopter’s civil helicopter range including the H125M, H145M and H225M. Three different packages are available from ballistic firing through helmet-mounted display, to ballistic firing through electro-optical system (EOS) or guided weapons firing.

The Serbian aircraft is equipped the ballistic firing through EOS system and included a 70 mm unguided rocket pod, a 12.7 mm machine gun pod and nose-mounted FLIR system. In addition to a door-mounted 12.7 mm machine gun they are also equipped with a fast roping system, fire support equipment, and ballistic protection as well as an electronic countermeasures system to support operational requirements.

The H145M has been ordered by the German Federal Ministry of Defence to be operated by the Special Forces Command KSK, the Hungarian Ministry of Defence, the Luxembourg Police Force and the Ukraine Interior Ministry, and Airbus Helicopter has confirmed that it is to bid its H145M for Australia’s Special Forces requirement.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior has taken the decision to change eight of its ten H145s on order to the five-bladed upgrade. They are part of an Intergovernmental Agreement signed between France and Ukraine for 55 helicopters in 2018 that included 21 repurposed H225s for the State Emergency Service and the National Guard and 24 H125s for search and rescue (SAR), public services, and emergency medical service (EMS) missions in the country.

The aircraft will be operated and maintained in Ukraine, and at Le Bourget Airbus Helicopters announced that it has accelerated the set-up of new pilot and technician training capabilities in Ukraine. Following and agreement between the Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and Air Bus Helicopter CEO Bruno Iven, the company will be delivering an H225 Full Flight Simulator (FFS) that will be based in Krementchuk in 2020, as well as delivering the first two H125 helicopters to the Interior Ministry’s Flight Academy for pilot training by the end of December 2019.

Photo by David Oliver