Airbus Establishes Team For German H145M Light Utility Helicopter Need

German Airbus H145
Credit: Airbus Helicopters/Cara Irina Wagner 

BERLIN—Airbus Helicopters has established an industry team to offer the company’s H145M twin-engine light rotorcraft to meet a German requirement for a Light Utility Helicopter (LUH).

The OEM has joined with Ecms Aviation Systems, Hensoldt’s Avionics and Sensors businesses, Liebherr-Aerospace, Rohde & Schwarz, Safran Helicopter Engines and ZF Luftfahrttechnik to form LUH SK Team H145M. LUH SK is short in German for Light Utility Helicopter Streitkrafte (Armed Forces).

The team is planning to offer a package that includes the rotorcraft as well as training and support.

A program to acquire a fleet of LUHs was outlined in plans for the €100 billion ($105 billion) German Armed Force Special Fund announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and approved by lawmakers at the beginning of June. According to Airbus, the Army is expected to require around 55 helicopters. These will be used for troop transport, fire support, armed reconnaissance and medical evacuation.

The Army had used its Bolkow Bo105 light twin-engine helicopters in a similar role until the type was retired due to financial issues during 2016.

Germany is familiar with the H145M, a militarized variant of Airbus’ popular H145 commercial rotorcraft used for law enforcement, emergency medical service and passenger transport. The Air Force uses 15 H145Ms to support special-forces missions, while seven commercial-model H145s are used by the Army for search and rescue.

“We have a strong product with very high availability and guaranteed short delivery times, and have organized support for the weapons system with a large number of German companies,” says Wolfgang Schroder, managing director of Airbus Helicopters in Germany. “With the formation of the team, we are offering the Bundeswehr a complete configuration that can be procured quickly and efficiently.”

Airbus plans to give the H145M a range of military capabilities including the development of datalinks, self-defense suites and weapon fits including the ability to fire the Rafael Spike anti-armor missile through the company’s Force generic weapons system.

Airbus officials say the team will provide Germany with a “high-quality package,” with an “attractive price-performance ratio” and “short delivery times.” It also notes the team is open to other interested parties.

The H145M is also in service with Hungary, Luxembourg, Serbia and Thailand. The U.S. Army operates the UH-72 Lakota, an earlier model based on what Airbus brands the EC145.

Tony Osborne

Based in London, Tony covers European defense programs. Prior to joining Aviation Week in November 2012, Tony was at Shephard Media Group where he was deputy editor for Rotorhub and Defence Helicopter magazines.