Helibras and Airbus Helicopters presented the first H225M Caracal in naval combat configuration this week in Brazil. Developed and assembled locally by Helibras, Airbus Helicopters’ subsidiary in Brazil, this new H225M version is said to meet requirements of the Brazilian Navy, with mission capabilities including anti-surface warfare and maritime surveillance.
The navalized H225M is built around a Helibras-developed tactical mission system including an APS-143 surveillance radar, advanced self-protection systems as well as signals intelligence capabilities. The helicopter is also equipped with two AM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles, while the cargo bay houses a dedicated sensor operator console providing the mission commander with an overview of the tactical situation. An automatic identification system (AIS) will also allow crew members to gather information on surface vessels.
The helicopter unveiled this week in Itajubá will be the first H225M in naval combat version to be delivered to the Brazilian Navy in 2018, after the end of military certification trials. It is part of a global order for 50 H225Ms for the Brazilian armed forces, 26 of which have already been delivered to the Brazilian Air Force, Navy and Army. Helibras is in charge of the complete assembly of H225Ms in Itajubá, including integration of mission equipment, flight line activities and industrial acceptance. With a target to achieve 50% of national content by 2020, Helibras has developed a local supply chain which includes more than 37 Brazilian companies.
The H225M sees more than 500 units delivered worldwide. As of today, 138 H225M Caracal have been ordered by France, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Kuwait.
The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has ordered two additional H225M Caracal multirole utility helicopters as part of the continuation of its fleet strengthening programme agreement launched in 2012. Delivery of the two additional choppers is scheduled for 2019.
These nwely ordered helicopters will join an existing fleet of four identical helicopters to perform similar missions. Two H225Ms that were booked in 2014 will also be delivered by the end of this year. Upon signing this latest contract, the RTAF may also consider to further expand its fleet of H225Ms.
The RTAF’s helicopters are specially equipped with fast roping, cargo sling, search light and electro-optical systems (EOS) to perform combat search and rescue (CSAR) missions, search and rescue (SAR) flights, troop transport operations and other tasks.
Poland has decided to end negotiations with Airbus Helicopters about the planned purchase of fifty H225M Caracal combat search and rescue helicopters, according to reports on Thursday 4 February. The deal was worth 3 billion USD. Troubles over industrial offsets are likely to have caused to decision. However, there’s no official word yet from Polish MoD.
If true, the news is a blow to Airbus Helicopters but also to the Polish military which desperately seeks replacement of ageing Russian-made Mi-8 Hip helicopters. Poland is now likely to pursue an order for Lockheed Martin – Sikorsky Black Hawks, a version of which was already produced in license in Poland.
In a statement, Airbus Helicopters responds that it is ‘committed to its policy of respecting tender obligations and of developing a large range of investments in Poland. Recent statements issued in the media are leading to speculation and spreading rumors, misleading any debate about the helicopter tenders and industrial development in Poland.’
Warsaw announced the selection of H225M in April 2015 after a lengthy selection proces. Other contenders were the AgustaWestland AW149 and Sikorsky’s S-70 Black Hawk. The latter will likely fly in Polish military service in the future.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
The Brazilian Air Force is fielding the first helicopter in Latin America equipped with a refueling probe, to receive the necessary stuff in mid-air. The first Airbus Helicopters / Helibras H-36 Caracal with the probe will be fully operational in January 2016.
Brazil hopes that the air-to-air refueling option gives the chopper even better capabilities to perform long-range Search and Rescue options across the vast Brazilian territory stretching far into the Atlantic Ocean and into the Amazon River base.
19 Caracals in Brazilian service
Although not all of the 50 helicopters ordered by the Brazilian Armed Fores are receiving the probe, many or even all of the Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) will. Designed by Aérospatiale / Eurocopter / Airbus Helicopters (H225, formerly EC725), the choppers are being assembled by Helibras in Itajubá. Of the total number ordered, currently 19 are in service: 5 in the FAB, 5 in the Brazilian Army, 7 in the Brazilian Navy and 2 as presidential flight.
Força Aérea Brasileira H-36
The FAB H-36s will not only receive a probe, but also new warnings systems for radar, laser and missile approach, as well as special electronic counter measures, encrypted communication systems and an infrared camera, the FAB writes in a statement.
2015 Airheadfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A H-36 Caracal equipped with a probe (Image © Força Aérea Brasileira)
The Royal Thai Air Force has taken delivery of an initial four Airbus Helicopters H225 Caracal medium heavy helicopters. The choppers will serve Thailand in the (combat) search and rescue (CSAR/SAR) and troop transport role.
The order for four Caracals was signed in 2012. Two additional helos were booked in 2014 for delivery to the Royal Thai Air Force next year. Operations with the first four now delivered, are expected to begin later this month.
The EC725 is an 11-ton twin-engine helicopter featuring room for 28 persons plus high-performance navigation and mission systems. In Asia, Thailand joins Indonesia and Malaysia in operating the type.
Source: Airbus Helicopters
Featured image: Two Caracals seen during training in France. (Image © Anthony Pecchi / Airbus Helicopters)