In December 2015, Airbus Helicopters delivered the first two lightweight military multi-role H145M helicopters (LUH SOF) to the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr). The helicopters will be used by the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK), the German Army’s special forces, in Laupheim. The Bundeswehr, which is the launch customer for the H145M, has ordered 15 of these helicopters, three of which are currently fully operational. This new aircraft is designated to replace the aging UH-1H/V that the Heeresfliger (Army aviation) still use.
The H145M is the military version of the civilian H145 that entered service in summer of 2014, and which recently reached the milestone of 10,000 flying hours in customer operations. With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tons, the H145M can be used for a wide range of military operations including utility, reconnaissance, search and rescue, armed scout, and medical evacuation. The Bundeswehr H145M (LUH SOF) is equipped with a fast-roping system (by ECMC Aviation GmbH) for troops, cargo hooks, hoists, a pintle-mounted door gun, ballistic protection, and an electronic countermeasures system, which offers new capabilities for KSK special operations. Each aircraft will be able to carry up to four operators and two pilots.
This helicopter has been designed for day and night missions, as well as for those carried out in harsh weather conditions and over difficult terrain. Its mission equipment range also includes a helmet-mounted sight and display, as well as a self-sealing supply tank. Powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines, the H145M is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC). Its low acoustic footprint makes the Airbus H145 the quietest helicopter in its class.
The H145M will provide the KSK with a modern helicopter with up-to-date capabilities that will allow its operators to get anywhere and during any conditions. The Bundeswehr currently has no standard variation of the American 160th SOAR, so these aircraft will most likely be operated by a group of pilots who operate under the German DSK (Division Schnelle Krafte) and who will be responsible for any aviation activity within the KSK or any other SOF elements.
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