Airbus Helicopters has successfully completed the first test flight of its new lightweight, military multirole helicopter, EC645 T2 LUH, at its facility in Donauworth, Bavaria, Germany.
The trial was conducted in the presence of representatives of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), which ordered 15 helicopters under a €194m contract in July 2013.
Scheduled to be supplied in 2015 with related equipment packages, including a fast-rope system, cargo hooks and hoists, the helicopters will be used by the German Special Forces Command (KSK) for special operations.
Eurocopter Germany senior vice-president and German Military Support Centre head Ralf Barnscheidt said: "This first flight is a milestone in the EC645 T2 programme and we're thrilled to be able to celebrate this event with our customer.
"This is also a product of the close-knit collaboration between the Airbus Helicopters and Bundeswehr project teams."
A militarised version of the civil EC145 T2 helicopter, the EC645 T2 LUH can be used for a range of military operations, including transportation, reconnaissance, search and rescue, fire support, as well as evacuation of wounded soldiers.
It includes dual-channel, full authority digital engine control, a modern digital cockpit with full night-vision and a four-axis autopilot.
The EC645 T2 LUH can be airlifted in an Airbus A400M military transport aircraft and quickly prepared for missions upon arrival in the theatre of operations.
Additional elements include pintle armament, electro-optical sensors, a self-protection system, ballistic protection and a Fenestron-shrouded tail rotor for operations in confined landing sites, as well as advanced communication equipment, including tactical radios that enable interoperability with Nato forces.
Image: The EC645 T2 helicopter during its first test flight at the Donauworth facility in Bavaria, Germany. Photo: © Airbus Helicopters / Charles Abarr - 2014.