The Federal Office of Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has ordered seven Airbus Helicopters H145 helicopters to replace the Bundeswehr's obsolete Bell UH-1D search and rescue (SAR) fleet. The aircraft will be delivered in 2020 and will be stationed at the sites in Niederstetten, Holzdorf and Nörvenich. The company will also be responsible for logistics support, repair, and maintenance of the helicopters.
“The helicopters already operated by the Bundeswehr have proven themselves in particular through their very high levels of operational availability, and we see a lot more possibilities for the flexible and reliable H145 family to perform a wide range of tasks in all branches of the armed forces,” Wolfgang Schoder, Airbus Helicopters’ Executive Vice President Light Helicopters and Governmental Programmes, explained.
According to an agreement with the Federal Ministry of Transport, the Bundeswehr is also responsible for SAR operations in the event of aircraft accidents on German territory. It therefore maintains a fleet of SAR helicopters on permanent standby; and these helicopters are also available for use in national disaster management operations. The Bell UH-1D model currently in use by the Bundeswehr first entered into service in the early 1970s.
The H145M, the military version of the H145, is a tried-and-tested light twin-engine helicopter that was first delivered to the Bundeswehr in 2015 and has since also been ordered by Serbia, Hungary, Thailand and Luxembourg. Mission readiness of the H145Ms already in service is above 95%.
At its site in Laupheim, the Bundeswehr operates 15 H145Ms as light support helicopters for special forces. The helicopter pilots of all branches of the armed forces train on the H135, the H145’s ‘little sister’.
Powered by two Safran ARRIEL 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the HELIONIX digital avionics suite. It includes a high-performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145 the quietest helicopter in its class.