As a replacement for the Eurocopter Tiger fleet, the H145M from Airbus Helicopters was selected.

Germany is a major operator of the famous Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter, with a fleet of 51 aircraft. According to the German Ministry of Defense, the Tiger squadron’s readiness is dangerously low, with only a fraction of them being operational. The documents would indicate that the German Tiger would start to have operational limitations as of 2025; that the fleet should start to be reduced as of 2027 and that by 2029 they would no longer be weapon systems with effective combat capability.

As a replacement for the Eurocopter Tiger fleet, the H145M from Airbus Helicopters was selected. Accordingly, the German Bundeswehr and Airbus Helicopters have signed a contract to purchase up to 82 H145M multi-role helicopters. This is the largest order ever placed for the H145M light attack helicopters to date. The deal specifically covers a firm order of 62 helicopters with an option for an additional 20 units. The German Army will receive 57 helicopters, while the Luftwaffe’s special forces will receive 5. Deliveries will begin in 2024, according to the vendor.

The H145M is a military-specific derivative of the proven H145 utility helicopter family, can cover various types of combat missions. The German Air Force has gained a significant amount of operational experience with its H145 LUH  Special Operations Forces fleet. The versatility of the H145M makes it the choice of the German military. Within minutes, the H145M can be reconfigured from a light attack role with axial ballistic and guided weapons and a state-of-the-art self-protection system into a special operations version. Additionally, the new German H145M includes options for future mission capabilities including the ability to operate with the integration of Manned-Unmanned Teaming and upgraded data links and communication systems.

The basic version of the ordered H145Ms will be equipped with fixed provisions, including the weapon management system, HForce, developed by Airbus Helicopters. Integration of the HForce weapons management system enables ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons firings. Airbus has previously test fired Israeli Spike ER2 anti-tank guided missiles from the H145M to increase lethality of the aircraft.

The helicopter measures 13.63 metres in length, a width of 2.77m and height of four metres. The maximum take-off weight is 3,650 kg. The helicopter can carry a useful load of 1,719kg. It can accommodate up to 11 people, including up to two pilots. Current operators of the H145M are Hungary, Serbia, Thailand and Luxembourg; Cyprus has ordered six aircraft.

The H145M’s weapon system can precisely aim 12,7 mm and 20 mm gun pods and 70 mm guided and unguided rockets. Anti-armor capability will be provided by integrating SPIKE ER2 missile to the helicopter’s armament. The power, range, endurance and payload capability provide a variety of deployment possibilities.

The helicopter is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines, developing 740 hp each. The H145M can reach a top speed of 268 167 mph, a range of 420 mi, a service ceiling of 17,190 ft, and a Rate of climb of 1,590 ft/min.

In addition, the helicopter is equipped with the Helionix digital avionics suite which, alongside innovative flight data management, includes a high-performance 4-axis autopilot, which considerably reduces pilot workload during missions. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145M the quietest helicopter in its class.

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