Boom in Military Helicopter Orders

Airbus’ H225
Airbus’ H225 has enjoyed a renaissance as some customers look to repurpose stored commercial versions.
Credit: Eric Raz/Airbus Helicopter

With the commercial helicopter industry still struggling after the oil and gas price slump, military sales are keeping some of the major rotary-wing OEMs in the black.

The uptick in international defense spending—particularly in Europe—has given even flagging programs a new lease on life and spurred new export opportunities.

Among the biggest beneficiaries is Airbus’ Super Puma-family. Once a mainstay of oil and gas operations, the helicopter has in the last two years won major contracts in Kuwait, Singapore and Hungary, which ordered 16 aircraft, while the smaller H215 has been snapped up by Serbia and Uzbekistan. Demand is such that governments and militaries are now looking to repurpose commercial H225s for the military mission. Ukraine’s machines used by Kyiv’s interior ministry have been modified from an oil and gas configuration, and the French military is also looking to expand its H225 fleet the same way. 


This is an abbreviated version of an article by Tony Osborne that appeared in Aviation Week & Space Technology. Read about other major program selections expected during 2020 in the full article. Login or subscribe to access the full article here.