The German military is to receive the first of 15 H145M chopper (formerly EC645 T2) before the year-end, Airbus Helicopters reports on 15 May 2015. That’s the result of the type’s recent certification by the European EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) airworthiness authority. First deliveries for the second H145M customer, the Royal Thai Navy, will begin in 2016.
The H145M is to be the mode of transportation for Germany’s Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK), or special forces. The helo first flew in November last year and is based on Airbus Helicopters’ enhanced H145 civilian and parapublic rotorcraft (previously designated the EC145 T2). It has an increased maximum take-off weight of 3.7 metric tons, and can be equipped with mission equipment that includes a pintle-mounted door gun and the ability to carry weapons on external pylons; electro optical/infrared sensors with targeting capability; as well as military avionics for communications, navigation and flight management.
A rope-down system is available for special operations, and overall survivability is enhanced by the H145M’s crew ballistic protection, its self-sealing fuel tanks, and electronic warfare self-protection against missile threats.
“The H145M is tailored for a wide range of military operations – including transportation, reconnaissance, search and rescue, fire support and evacuations of wounded personnel. By using a civil certification for the H145M, we pursued a low-risk and low-cost approach for our customers, avoiding a costly and duplicative military qualification. This process also benefitted from the H145’s own civil certification last year, ensuring that the latest standards for safety and airworthiness are met”, said Manfred Merk, H145 Programme Director.
Airbus Helicopters’ newest lightweight military multi-role helicopter, the EC645 T2, has successfully completed its first flight. In the presence of representatives of the German Bundeswehr – which has ordered the first of this new helicopter type – the EC645 T2 demonstrated its capacities at the company’s Donauwörth location in Bavaria.
“This first flight is a milestone in the EC645 T2 program and we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate this event with our customer,” said Ralf Barnscheidt, Head of the German Military Support Center. “We’re right on schedule to deliver the first EC645 T2 helicopters in the coming year.”
The new EC645 T2 is equipped with a digital avionics suite, including a 4-axis autopilot developed by Airbus Helicopters. This aircraft has been optimized for day and night missions as well as for those carried out in treacherous weather conditions. Its mission equipment range also includes a fast roping system for troops, cargo hooks, hoists, various weapons and electro-optical sensors. Ballistic protective equipment and an electronic countermeasures system that detects threats help protect the helicopter and crew. Powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines, the EC645 T2 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC). What’s more, noise emissions significantly below international limits make the EC645 T2 the quietest helicopter in its class.
The Royal Thai Armed Forces recently also ordered five EC645 T2 helicopters.
Thailand has ordered five Airbus Helicopter EC645 T2s and two EC725s to enhance the airborne capabilities of both its navy and air force, as announced on Wednesday 22 October 2014.
The Royal Thai Navy signed for five EC645 T2s to be deployed on transport duties and other missions, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2016. Its purchase represents the first export order of this militarized version of the EC145 T2, which is the newest and most powerful model in Airbus Helicopters’ EC145 light twin-engine helicopter family. The EC645 T2 (MTOW 3.7 tons) features a modern digital cockpit and a 4-axis autopilot.
The Royal Thai Air Force’s is adding two EC725 helos to its original order of four such choppers, specialized in SAR/CSAR missions. The Thai EC725 will operate with Wing 2 at Lop Buri Air Base. First deliveries are scheduled for next year.
The EC725 is a 11 tons, twin-engine helicopter with a digital 4-axis autopilot and five-blade composite main rotor. It can perform multiple missions that range from combat search and rescue, long-range tactical transport and aeromedical transport to logistic support and naval duties. The type is currently operated by France, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand and soon in Indonesia as well.
The German Special Forces’s (KSK) new EC645 T2 and its civilian version EC145 T2 have been cleared to fly by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on 17 April 2014. The most powerful EC145 chopper ever is allowed to commence ops in the full range of advertised capabilities, including single-pilot operations, instrument flight rules (IFR) flying and single-engine operations, as well as flying by the aid of night vision goggles.
Despite its relatively small size, the EC645 / EC145 T2 can accommodate up to nine passengers plus a crew of two. The flat, level floor has been optimized for modular changes, meaning seats can be quickly changed for something else like stretchers and medical equipment.
Furthermore, the military version can have gun or missile pods attached on both sides of the fuselage – making the EC645 T2 worthy competition for the often used Hughes/McDonnell Douglas MD500/OH-6/AH-6/MH-6 Cayuse/Loach/Little Bird. The latter has much less room for troops or other passengers and misses another big advantage of the EC645: two big cargo/entry doors in the rear of the fuselage underneath the tail boom.
Compared to the earlier EC145 model the T2 features new Arriel 2E engines (with FADEC) and a Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, upgraded main and tail rotor gear boxes, a more advanced Helionix digital avionics suite that includes large full-colour multi-functional displays and a 4-axis autopilot. The Fenestron technology brings enhanced anti-torque control effeciency to the tail rotor, as well as reduced power demand in forward flight, lower noise and less vibration. The rotor is installed in a new, damage-tolerant all-composite tail boom: meaning in combat it can withstand a certain amount of bullets or shrapnel.
Airbus Helicopters already has approximately 20 EC145 T2s currently are in series production, with more than a 100 of the type ordered, including 15 for the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) as already reported in July 2013.
The German Special Forces (Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK)) have choosen the most powerful EC145 helicopter for its special ops. Fifteen so-called EC645 T2 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) will begin to arrive late 2015. According to the Eurocopter press release final delivery is planned for mid-2017.
The LUH contract enhances the Special Forces Command’s operational capability. The day and night missions that these helicopters will perform include insertion and extraction of special ops, fire support and reconnaissance.
The EC645 T2 LUH features a modern digital cockpit with full night vision and a 4-axis autopilot. Its communication equipment including tactical radios enables interoperability among NATO forces. Special ops teams can quickly access the aircraft thanks to its spacious cabin, which has two large sliding side doors and double doors at the rear. The helicopter’s maximum take-off weight is 3.7 tons. Troop safety is improved by the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, particularly for flight operations in confined landing sites and whenever the rotor is turning on ground.
In addition, the mission equipment packages include fast rope system, cargo hooks and hoists. The aircraft are also equipped with pintle armament and electro-optical sensors. A self-protection system and ballistic protection further increase crew safety and aircraft survivability. The EC645 T2 is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines and is equipped with dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC).
The helicopter can be strategically airlifted in an Airbus A400M and quickly prepared for the mission upon arrival in a theater of operations.
The contract, worth a total of 194 million euros, includes not just the helicopters but also the related equipment packages to allow KSK to carry out its special operations missions. About 600 helicopters of the EC145 family have been delivered to more than 40 countries.