Airbus confirms H145M bid for Australian special forces

Land 2097 Phase 4
Airbus H145H in service with German Special Forces | Image credit: Airbus Helicopters

Airbus Helicopters has confirmed that it will offer the H145M military multi-role helicopter to Australia for Land 2097 Phase 4 requirement for a special operations helicopter.

The Airbus H145M is a medium-sized military multi-role helicopter capable of performing a wide range of missions with a common platform, from transport, Search and Rescue (SAR) to medevac and armed scout.

Airbus Australia Pacific managing director Andrew Mathewson said, “The Airbus H145M helicopter is the military version of the H145 – the most advanced member of Airbus’ multi-purpose twin-engine category. It is based on a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platform with military-specific modifications and is an operationally proven, affordable and low-risk option for Australia.”

Mr Mathewson said that other strengths of the Airbus H145M included:

  • Excellent access and cabin space
  • Compact footprint for maximum agility
  • Excellent hot and high flight performance
  • Airbus Helionix cockpit which reduces pilot workload and allows greater situational awareness
  • Full multi-role capability allowing support to missions including aerial assault, aerial fire support, attack, ISTAR, CASEVAC and general utility tasks
  • High availability; reliable and robust systems; a small logistic footprint; proven by operations in similar configuration, roles and environment
  • High rotor clearance and shrouded Fenestron for operations close to obstacles

Mr Mathewson also added that, “The Airbus Australia Pacific response included selected industry partners and the provision of training, maintenance, logistics and engineering activities. A comprehensive transfer of technology and skills will make Airbus Australia Pacific a regional centre able to proactively support Australian operational needs, and export this knowledge back into the wider H145M community.”

Last October it was reported that Australia was planning to acquire a fleet of up to 16 light helicopters to enhance the aviation capability of Australian Special Forces through increased mobility, direct air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) as part of LAND 2097 Phase 4. The options being considered were Airbus H145M, Bell 407GT, Boeing Defense & Security AH-6i Little Bird and Leonardo AW109 Trekker.