Tag Archives: Kommando Spezialkräfte

H145: customized best seller for all

On first glance a military special forces member may not have a single thing common with an offshore worker, a paramedic or even your average VIP. On second glance, they do. It’s called the H145, currently one of Airbus Helicopters’ best selling choppers and since December 2015 the preferred airborne ride of the German Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK). Starting April, Thailand will also welcome the H145M, a helicopter that like all Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft, can be customized almost to infinity.

Customization is indeed built into our design structure and production process, says Gottfried Hornung, heading the combined Final Assembly Line (FAL) of H135 and H145 helicopters in Donauwörth, Germany. Behind him, Airbus Helicopters employees perform quality inspections on what is to be the third of fifteen H145Ms for the KSK. The dark green colour sets its apart from other helicopters built for civilian customers.

Hornung is in charge of final assembly of all H135s and H145s produced in Donauwörth. “Helicopters have been produced at this location for many decades.That experience has led to optimized customization for our customers, which in turn contributes to the market success of both the H135 and H145”, says Hornung while an H135 for the Australian Defense Force (ADF) awaits attention. Nearby in the flight hangar, two olive green H145Ms for Thailand are readied for flight and an additional H145 is prepared for its customized ‘Mercedes-Benz style’ VIP interior.

Quality control on the third H145M for Germany. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Quality control on the third H145M for Germany. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Versatile

Customized or not, the H135 and H145 are true multipurpose helicopters. Their versatility is demonstrated by the fact the both are the preferred platform for Emergency Medical Services (EMS). As civil market leader, Airbus Helicopters has a strong foothold in this corner of the helicopter market, which globally decreased by over 20 percent last year.  Nevertheless, Airbus Helicopters in 2015 slightly increased its civil market share and  chalked up total 383 orders, military contracts included. Out of these orders, 107 are for the H145 and 49 for the smaller H135.

An H145M for the Thai Army awaits its next test flight. (Image © Alexander Lutz)
An H145M for the Thai Army awaits its next test flight. (Image © Alexander Lutz)
While another waits to have its rotor blades fitted. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
While another waits to have its rotor blades fitted. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Military

On the military market, the H145 may appear like the new kid on the block while in fact it is anything but. Disguised as the UH-72A Lakota and as a replacement for the UH-1 Huey, the type has been serving the US Army for years already in training, transport and liaison roles. A staggering 423 Lakotas were ordered by the US.

In its special ops role, the H145M – advertized as a ‘light battlefield support helicopter’ – offers  room for up to 10 soldiers in the ballistically protected cabin. The sliding side doors and fast rope systems offer quick exit in hover situations, while the double clamshell doors at the rear can also be used when on the ground.The Fenestron shrouded tail rotor offers protection and safety on the ground. Until now, special forces in Germany relied on the – again – UH-1 Huey.

Fast rooping from an Airbus Helicopters H145M. (Image © Airbus Helicopters)
Fast rooping in action. (Image © Airbus Helicopters)

Weapons

The H145M features a mission computer, an infrared/TV electro-optical system, a laser range-finder/designator/pointer plus two rigid but removable multi-purpose armament pylons. Optionally, the helicopter can be fitted with rocket launchers for ballistic and guided weapons, guns pods, mounted door guns and air-to-ground missiles. According to Airbus Helicopters, laser-guided rockets could be added to the H145M’s weapons arsenal in the future, too.

Also, for the next seven years the Airbus Helicopters Military Support Center in Donauwörth will take complete care of the fifteen German special ops choppers. The same center already looks after all military helicopters in service with the Germans, including Sikorsky CH-53Gs, NH90s and Tiger attack Helicopters. It also provides support for German Marine Sea King and Sea Lynx helos.

Helionix

What sets newer H145s, including the German special ops ones, apart from earlier models is the modulair and impressive Helionix cockpit suite which according to Airbus Helicopters offers pilots the world’s most advanced cockpit – apart from the Airbus A350. In the case of the H145, the suite consists of three large MFDs that can all be adjusted for diplaying either basic flight control instruments, engine parameters, digital maps or a range of other options. Two Garmin GTN 750 GPS/NAV/COMM multifunction displays complete the typical Helionix setup in the H145. The system offers a 4 axis autopilot including Auto-Hover function. Helionix will be integrated in all new or updated products of Airbus such as the new H135 and H160.

Helionix is another example of Airbus Helicopters customization and attention to customer needs. “We aim to get the most out of our product”, says Gottfried Hornung. “Take the recently increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) for the H145, which was 3,650 kg and now is 3,700 kg. In an helicopter, that extra 50 kilos makes all the difference.”

And yes, no matter if you’re a military special forces member, an offshore worker, a paramedic or your average VIP. Or anything else.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: Out for a test flight is this H145M for the Thai Navy. (Image © Alexander Lutz)

(Image © Alexander Lutz)
Each helicopter is thoroughly checked during several test flight. (Image © Alexander Lutz)
 (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A view of the combined H135/H145 production facility in Donauwörth. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
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Electrical testing in progress. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
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No guessing where these parts will end up: Thailand.(Image © Dennis Spronk)
Engineers work on on this H135 destined for the Australian Defense Force. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Engineers work on on this H135 destined for the Australian Defense Force. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

First new ride for German special forces

The German Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) took delivery of its first two Airbus Helicopters H145M multi role helicopters. They are the first of 15 ordered to replace vintage UH-1 Hueys.

The H145M is the military version of civil H145 helicopter and is new the mode of transportation for Germany’s special forces, based in Laupheim.

The helo first flew in November last year. 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 fast rooping equipment, plus the ability to carry weapons on external pylons as well as electro-optical/infrared sensors with targeting capability.

Launch customer

Germany is launch customer for the H145M. A seven-year support contract with Airbus Helicopters was signed earlier this year. First deliveries for the second H145M customer, the Royal Thai Navy, will begin in 2016.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

German special forces get their ride in 2015

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.

Source: Airbus
Featured image: The Airbus Helicopters H145M, formerly knows as EC645 T2. (Image © Charles Abarr / Airbus Helicopters)

‘Future transport of German Special Forces’

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.

The EC645 T2 is the military version of the civil EC145 T2 that was introduced last summer. With a maximum takeoff weight of 3.7 tons, the EC645 T2 can be used for a range of military operations including transportation, reconnaissance, search and rescue, fire support, and evacuations of wounded personnel. The Bundeswehr ordered 15 of these helicopters in July 2013 for the German Special Forces Command (Kommando Spezielkräfte; KSK), according to Airbus Helicopters. The type was cleared to fly since April this year.

No doubt about it: it works. (Image © Airbus Helicopters / Charles Abarr)
No doubt about it: it works. (Image © Airbus Helicopters / Charles Abarr)

“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.

Source: Airbus Helicopters

German Special Forces chopper cleared to fly

Especially useful in the special forces role are weapon pods attached on both sides of the fuselage (Image © Charles Abarr / ECD / Airbus Helicopters)
Especially useful in the special forces role are weapon pods attached on both sides of the fuselage
(Image © Charles Abarr / ECD / Airbus Helicopters)

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.

Competition
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.

Features
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.

Series production
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.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger with source information of Airbus Helicopters

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Despite its small size the EC645 T2 can accommodate up to 9 passengers/troops (Image © Charles Abarr / ECD / Airbus Helicopters)
Despite its small size the EC645 T2 can accommodate up to 9 passengers/troops
(Image © Charles Abarr / ECD / Airbus Helicopters)
Apart from the side doors, the EC645 T2 has very handy rear-doors (Image © Charles Abarr / ECD / Airbus Helicopters)
Apart from the side doors, the EC645 T2 has very handy rear-doors (Image © Charles Abarr / ECD / Airbus Helicopters)