The H145M (previously known as the EC645 T2) is an economical and versatile military helicopter covering the entire spectrum of military missions, from light utility to light attack. The H145M delivers the reliability and low operating costs of Airbus Helicopters’ multi-role EC145, which is a rotorcraft of reference for law enforcement organizations and military services – including the U.S. Army, with its UH-72A Lakota version.
The H145M is equipped with a modern digital glass cockpit, night vision goggle compatability, and Airbus Helicopters’ advanced Helionix® avionics suite with a 4-axis digital autopilot. Enhancements include an upgraded transmission system and incorporation of Airbus Helicopters’ signature Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor for improved anti-torque control. For armed operations, the rotorcraft carries a mission computer, two rigid multi-purpose armament pylons that are easily removable, an infrared / TV electro-optical system, and a laser range-finder / designator / pointer. With its open system architecture, this innovative weapon system contributes to full situational awareness for the crew.
The H145M’s power, range, endurance and payload capability provide a multitude of deployment possibilities, especially when operating in high-and-hot conditions at altitudes of 6,000 ft. and temperatures of 95 deg. F. Mission readiness of the H145M is enhanced by the rotorcraft’s two Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines with dual-channel full-authority digital engine controls (FADEC), Airbus Helicopters’ Fenestron® tail rotor for improved anti-torque authority, and an upgraded transmission. In service as the U.S. Army’s Light Utility Helicopter, the UH-72A Lakota version has demonstrated an availability rate of greater than 90 percent.
The H145M’s compact airframe provides a low profile, enhanced by the helicopter’s flight agility and designed-in system redundancy. Contributing to its survivability are self-sealing fuel tanks, ballistic protection and infrared suppressor, along with crashworthiness designed into the fuselage and seats. The electronic warfare system and chaff/flare dispensers bring an extra level of protection in high-threat environments.
Equipped with an incremental modular weapon system, the H145M can handle all types of operational scenarios, from conventional to asymmetric conflicts. Ballistic and guided weapons compatible with the H145M include 7- and 12-tube rocket launchers, a 20-mm. cannon pod, 12.7-mm machine gun pod and air-to-ground missiles. Growth potential exists for laser-guided rockets.
Special operations teams can quickly access the aircraft thanks to its spacious cabin, which has two large sliding side doors and double clamshell doors at the rear. 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.
With an unobstructed flat floor, the H145M accommodates 10 troops, who can embark/disembark through both sides and the rear clamshell doors. They are afforded excellent exterior visibility through large side windows, along with windows integrated in the clamshell door. Mission equipment packages include a fast rope system, cargo hooks and hoists. The high-set main rotor and Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor provide unparalleled safety, access in confined landing zones, and loading/unloading of cargo, passengers and patients while the rotors are turning.
The optimized ratio of the cabin volume to the ground footprint – along with its low sound levels and the reduced infrared signature – makes the H145M a discreet and efficient platform, well suited to Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations.
The added value of the 4-axis autopilot combined with a weather and search radar, emergency floats, a life raft and an emergency locator transmitter (ELT), allow the H145M to fulfill day and night maritime security missions. These include exclusive economic zone surveillance and control; maritime counter-terrorism/piracy; ship replenishment; and search and rescue (SAR) and medical evacuation at sea, among others.
On 19 June 2020 Airbus Helicopters’ five-bladed H145 was certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), clearing the way for customer deliveries towards the end of summer 2020. The certification covers the full range of capabilities, including single-pilot and instrument flight rules (IFR) and single engine operations (Cat.A/VTOL), along with night vision goggles capability.
“Our new five bladed H145 is an excellent example of our quest for continuous improvement and providing incremental innovation that responds to our customers' requirements", said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “This helicopter combines value-added features with the robustness and the reliability of a tried-and-tested bestseller, making it very competitive in the light twin-engine market.”
The new version of Airbus’ best-selling H145 light twin-engine helicopter was unveiled at Heli-Expo 2019 in Atlanta, GA, with launch customers announced for almost every market segment. Prior to the successful high-altitude test campaign in South America, where the aircraft set its skids down on the Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Southern hemisphere, the new H145 performed several test campaigns including in Spain at medium altitudes and Finland for cold weather.
This latest upgrade of the H145 family adds a new, innovative five-bladed rotor to the multi-mission H145, increasing the useful load of the helicopter by 150 kg (330 lb). The simplicity of the new bearingless main rotor design will also ease maintenance operations, further improving the benchmark serviceability and reliability of the H145, while improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew. Certification by the Federal Aviation Administration will follow later this year. The certification for the military version of the five-bladed H145 will be granted in 2021.
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.
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