Airbus Showcases Military Helicopter in Hungary

The H145M multi-role aircraft was demonstrated to customers from around the world.

Airbus put its H145M military helicopter through its paces for several days at the Bakony Combat Training Center in Hungary to showcase its versatility to potential customers. The chopper was outfitted with Airbus’ HForce weapons platform.

The medium-sized, multi-role battlefield support helicopter is designed to be a versatile vehicle that can perform all sorts of missions: assault, deployment of troops, armed reconnaissance, VIP transport, search and rescue, fire support and medical evacuation. Not only is it used by military forces but also by civilian police.

The HForce platform is the key component of its versatility. Based on the system used by the Airbus Tiger specialized attack helicopter—and adaptable to any of Airbus’ military helicopters—it is a modular and incremental weapon system. It features a large variety of weapons systems that can be swapped out to turn the aircraft into a specialized light attack helicopter. It even helps coordinate and manage crew workload by streamlining functions between the gunner and pilot the way an attack helicopter does.

The H145M has a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tons. It has expended power, range, endurance and payload capacity and can withstand difficult environments such as sand and dust. It can also operate in “high-and-hot” conditions at altitudes of 6,000 feet and 95 °F. The chopper is powered by two Safran Arriel 2E turboshaft engines. Its airframe is compact enough that it can even be deployed from Airbus’ A400M military airlifter plane.

“The H145M responds to today’s most demanding mission scenarios for which high versatility, excellent performance and cost effectiveness are required,” the company said in a news release.

Airbus’ H145M with HForce.

The H145M is already in service, having been first delivered in 2015 to the German Armed Forces; it is also used by the U.S. Army. Airbus claims that the aircraft has achieved a mission availability rate of over 95 percent. Airbus expects to deliver H145Ms equipped with HForce starting in mid-2019; five nations have ordered over 50 of the aircraft.

While known mostly for its commercial jets, Airbus has also become a major player in the military helicopter market. It recently showcased its H135 helicopter to the U.S. Navy as a potential training aircraft, and intends to compete for a Japanese military contract to replace that country’s aging attack chopper fleet—an important part of Japan’s defense forces.

Feedback from the display in Hungary promises to keep Airbus military helicopters in high demand. “We’re honoured that so many customers from all over the world joined us to attend our live firing demonstration,” said Mark Henning, Senior Manager of the H145 Program.

Read more about military helicopter technology at San Diego Fire Department Will Use a Black Hawk Helicopter to Fight Fires.