The German Armed Forces have contracted Airbus to deliver 62 H145M multi-purpose helicopters, with an option for 20 additional units. Neither party has disclosed the total value of the deal.

According to a statement from Airbus, the original equipment manufacturer of the platform, this is the “largest order ever placed for the helicopter and consequently the largest for the HForce weapon management system” used onboard.

The contract also includes seven years of support and services, ensuring optimal entry into service. The German Army will receive 57 helicopters, while the Luftwaffe’s special forces will receive five.

“The H145M is a robust multi-role helicopter, and the German Air Force has gained a significant amount of operational experience with its H145M [light utility helicopter (LUH)] Special Operations Forces fleet,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters.

“We will ensure that the Bundeswehr receives the helicopters in accordance with the very ambitious delivery schedule which includes first deliveries in 2024 less than a year after contract signature.”

The H145M is a new medium-sized, multi-mission military helicopter. This LUH is primarily intended for light fire support and reconnaissance missions.

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The helicopter measures 13.63 metres (m) in length with rotor turning. It has a width of 2.77m and height of four metres. The maximum take-off weight is 3,650 kilogrammes (kg). The helicopter can carry a useful load of 1,719kg. It can accommodate up to 11 people, including up to two pilots. It can also operate in hot conditions within a minimum 6,000 feet altitude in a day temperature of 35°C.

This will not be the first time that Germany has used the rotorcraft. The German Government previously purchased 16 units from Airbus in a deal worth €194m ($211.5m) in July 2013. The German Special Forces Command, or KSK, operates these units.

Elsewhere, the US Army employs almost 500 helicopters from the H145 family under the name of UH-72 Lakota. Current operators of the H145M are Hungary, Serbia, Thailand and Luxembourg; Cyprus has ordered six aircraft.

Germany’s new H145M has an edge

The M145M is a very pragmatic choice considering the flexibility it provides an armed force as operators can reconfigure the platform in minutes from a light attack role with axial ballistic and guided weapons and a self-protection system into a special operations version including fast rappelling equipment.

the new German H145M includes options for future mission capabilities including the ability to operate with the integration of Manned-Unmanned Teaming and upgraded data links and communication systems.

In addition, the basic version of the ordered H145Ms will be equipped with fixed provisions, including the weapon management system, HForce. This system allows the German Armed Forces to train its pilots on the same type of helicopter that is used for operation and combat – in this way, “costly type transfers are eliminated and the highest level of professionalisation will be achieved.”