Category Archives: Helicopters

Airbus retrofits 26 German CH-53S

Airbus Helicopters has received a order from Germany for the  retrofit of 26 CH-53 heavy transport helicopters. This contract cover replacement of components that are no longer available on the market. In stead, Airbus Helicopters will begin replacing them with up-to-date parts.

The retrofit will guarantee the helicopters’ operation until at least 2030. The process will start in 2017 and should be completed by 2022. Work will be carried out in Donauwörth at Airbus Helicopters’ Military Support Center Germany.

Airheadsfly.com visited the same facility last year, and witnessed how one CH-53 was completely dismantled and inspected for signs of fatigue. The current German fleet consist of forty CH-53GA (Germany Advanced) and 26 older CH-53G models, adding up to 66 in total.

One of over a dozen CH-53s in Donauwörth last February/ (Image © Dennis Spronk)
One of over a dozen CH-53s in Donauwörth in February 2015. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

“This order enables both the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) and also our Donauwörth plant to plan ahead with certainty,” said Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Deutschland. “

Airbus Helicopters has been the German specialist for maintaining, repairing and modernising heavy transport helicopters for decades. We have the necessary infrastructure, highly trained professionals and can guarantee supply for all Bundeswehr models.”

Poland keeps looking for new helicopters

Window shopping again, or more than that this time? After several failed attempts and growing friction with suppliers, Poland is having another go at beefing up its helicopter capabilities. The country is looking for eight anti-submarine choppers plus another eight helos for use by special forces, the ministry of Defense in Warsaw said on Monday 20 February.

Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo Helicopters and Lockheed Martin have been asked to come up with bids. The new choppers should replace ageing Mi-8 Hip and Mi-14 Haze helicopters that have been in Polish services for decades already, dating back to Eastern Bloc-times.

For Airbus Helicopters, this newest Polish tender will breng back the headaches that came with the selection of the H225 Caracal by Poland back in April 2015. After much hassle, that 3 billion USD deal was finally scrapped last year. Lockheed Martin (after taking over helicopters manufacturer Sikorsky first) then seemed to have the best cards for a Polish helicopter deal. However, that too appeared to be window shopping in the end.

© 2017 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A Polish Navy anti-submarine Mi-14 Haze helicopter. (Image © P. Kazylotnicze)

Pakistan takes another ‘undisclosed’ number of AW139s

Pakistan as ordered another bacth of AW139 helicopters from Italian company Leonardo. The contract follows a similar order that was signed in May 2016, and once again the exact number of helicopters ordered remains ‘undisclosed’.  The latest batch of AW139s will be used to perform utility and transport operations across the nation. Deliveries are expected to start in mid-2017. 

According to Leonardo, the AW139 is the perfect fit to Pakistan’s operational environment, delivering capabilities ideal for hot and high operations.

So far, over 970 AW139 helicopters have been sold to more than 240 customers in over 70 nations. Out of those, over 830 have been delivered as of now.

Featured image: The AW139 in action (Image © Leonardo Helicopters)

Norway: ‘NH90 not usable on board coast guard frigates’

Norway is reported by national newspaper Aftenposten to not be happy with the way its military NH90 helicopters operate in bad weather while at sea. Problems arise when the helicopter are parked on smaller coast guard frigates in high seas, sources tell.

The Norwegian military and coast guard apparently fear that NH90 helicopter will sustain damage while operating from the smaller frigates. They point out that Norwegian coast guard vessels are smaller in size than previous generations of ships, while the NH90 in fact is considerably bigger than the Lynx helicopter it replaces.

For now, the decision is to not operate the NH90 from the smaller vessels, even though the country aims to operate two HN90s in a  search-and-recue role for the coast guard.

In total, Norway ordered fourteen NHIndustries NH90 helicopters, at least six of which have already been delivered. Twelve NH90s are configured for the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role. For increased SAR coverage, the Nordic country has ordered sixteen additional AW101 helicopters.

 

Germany to send Tigers and NH90s to Mali

The Germany government is planning to send four NH90s medium transport helicopters and four Tiger light attack helicopter to Mali. In the African country, the helos will be used for the UN’s MINUSMA peace keeping mission. They will replace Dutch CH-47D Chinook and AH-64D Apache helicopters.

If parliament in Berlin approves the proposal, the helicopters will head for Mali in the first half of this year. The NH90s will be used for transport tasks, including the evacuation of wounded personnel. The Tigers will be there to provide securty. Both the NH90 and Tiger were used in Afghanistan before by the Germans, who encountered difficulties in operating the NH90 in ‘hot and high’ conditions.

Apart from Afghanistan, the Tiger attack helicopter also saw earlier use  in Libya, Somalia and Mali.

The Dutch contigent has been in Mali for three years. On 17 March 2015, a Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) Apache crashed with fatal consequences for the two crew. The cause was recently found to be a design flaw in the helicopter’s control system.

© 2017 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A German Tiger attack helicopter (Image © Marcel Burger)