The H145M Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) (formerly EC645 T2) is a new medium-sized multimission military helicopter produced by Airbus Helicopters (previously known as Eurocopter, an EADS company). The light utility helicopter is primarily intended for light fire support and reconnaissance missions.
The H145M helicopter took to the skies for the first time in November 2014. Airbus Helicopters obtained the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for the helicopter in May 2015.
The H145M is a state-of-the-art rotary-wing platform offering superior performance, endurance and high-payload capacity. It is capable of operating in 6K/95 high / hot conditions (minimum 6,000ft altitude in a day temperature of 95°F).
The multirole capabilities allow the helicopter to perform armed scout, special operations, light attack, search-and-rescue (SAR), command and control, MEDEVAC/CASEVAC and maritime missions.
EADS North America announced a teaming agreement with Lockheed Martin and American Airbus in May 2009 to offer Armed Scout 645 (EC645) for the US Army’s Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) programme.
Airbus H415M orders and deliveries
Airbus received a €194m contract from the German Federal Ministry of Defence for 15 H145M helicopters (LUH SOF) in July 2013. The helicopters are operated by the KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte (Special Forces Command, KSK).
The contract also includes the supply of associated equipment packages for the helicopters. The first two helicopters were delivered in December 2015 and the remaining helicopters were delivered by June 2017.
In October 2014, Airbus received a contract from the Royal Thai Navy for delivery of five H145M helicopters. The first two helicopters were delivered in April 2016.
Airbus Helicopters received a seven-year full-service contract from the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) to support 15 H145M helicopters in June 2015.
In June 2018, Airbus Helicopters received an order from the Hungarian Ministry of Defence for the delivery of 20 H145M helicopters.
Design features of the H415M LUH
The versatile H145M is based on the Airbus EC145 commercial helicopter, which was adapted for the UH-72A LUH of the US Army.
The H145M incorporates an energy-absorbing fuselage, integrating a hinge-less main rotor and tail boom with fixed horizontal stabiliser. The Fenestron shrouded tail rotor ensures safe flight operations in confined landing areas.
The cabin is spacious and equipped with two large sliding side doors and rear double doors, allowing quick ingress and egress of troops. The helicopter also integrates mission equipment such as fast rope system, cargo hooks and hoists.
The helicopter measures 13.63m in length with rotor turning. It has a width of 2.77m and height of four metres. The maximum take-off weight is 3,650kg. The helicopter can carry a useful load of 1,719kg. It can accommodate up to 11 people, including up to two pilots.
Cockpit and avionics of the Light Utility Helicopter
The advanced glass cockpit of the H145M can house two crew members. It is equipped with two smart multifunction displays, full night vision and dual duplex 4-axis digital automatic flight control.
The light utility vehicle also integrates a mission computer, IR/TV electro optic system and laser range finder/designator/pointer. The reference sensors include inertial measurement unit (IMU), air data sensors and three-axis magnetometers.
The communication systems aboard the H145M allow interoperability with NATO force.
Armament and self-protection of Airbus’ aircraft
The helicopter is equipped with a standalone weapon system (SAWS). The multipurpose pylons are armed with a variety of weapon systems, including a 12-tube rocket launcher, seven-tube rocket launcher, 20mm gun pod and a 12.7mm gun pod.
The integrated weapon system, interfaced with the modern cockpit, provides significant combat capability for engaging several threats.
The low signature, self-sealing fuel tanks and ballistic protection improve the survivability of the helicopter. The self-protection is further enhanced by the electronic warfare system (EWS) and IR suppressor.
H415M helicopter engines and performance
The power plant includes two Turbomeca Arriel 2E turbine engines, each developing a maximum continuous power of 771shp (575kW). Each engine provides a maximum take-off power of 894shp (667kW).
The engine performance can be monitored and controlled by the dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system.
The H145M helicopter has a maximum speed (Vne) of 268km/h and can reach a maximum distance of 663km. The helicopter can be carried by an Airbus A400M to the area of military operations and quickly deployed upon arrival.
The Global Military Rotorcraft Market 2011-2021
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