The Airbus Helicopters HForce is a generic weapon system in development for Airbus commercial helicopter range. The innovative system, which includes a central core unit, Thales’ Scorpion monocular helmet mounted sight display (HMSD), an electro-optical system (EOS) from Wescam as well as gunner armament weapon grips and weapon pods. A unique, exhaustive and flexible weapon system designed to meet the requirements of defence agencies seeking light attack mission capabilities or a complement to their existing fleet of specialised attack helicopters.
HForce is an incremental, affordable, plug n’ play weapon management system that can be fitted onto any military version of Airbus Helicopters commercial range ( the H125M light-single, H145M medium-twin and and H225M heavy-twin). HForce is designed to meet the requirements of defense agencies seeking light attack mission capabilities or a complement to their existing fleet of specialized attack helicopters. This allowed Airbus Helicopters to demonstrate the performance of HForce with ballistic weapons, including 12,7 mm guns, 70 mm rockets as well as 20 mm cannons. HForce offers a large array of weapons, modern and easy target acquisition and high targeting accuracy, formerly reserved for high-end attack helicopters.
Drawing on experience with the Tiger attack helicopter, Airbus has developed an off-the-shelf solution to address a large scope of customers’ armament needs. Conceived as a modular and incremental system, HForce offers a multi-purpose mission computer interchangeable from one helicopter to another and a large choice of weapons (air-to-air, air-to-ground, ballistic or guided) to comply with any operational need. The technically-advanced solution takes into account the different aspects of firing accuracy: weapon recoil, centre of gravity, ground clearance or vehicle separation. Aside from that baseline option, HForce comes in three levels of sophistication: option one, for light scout missions, features only ballistic weapons – a Nexter 20mm cannon or FN Herstal 12.6mm gun, plus unguided 68mm Thales rockets; option two adds an L-3 Wescam MX-15 electro-optical/infrared turret; while option three, as a light attack platform, adds 70mm Thales guided rockets as well as guided missiles.
HForce enables a drastic reduction of workload thanks to experience gained from crew resource management on Tiger helicopters. With the HForce system in place, the gunner manages the helicopter’s weapons while the pilot flies, exactly like in an attack helicopter. Making the most of Airbus Helicopters’ experience, HForce offers easy cooperation among the crew in service of target identification and acquisition, and a firing computation for drastic improvements in firing accuracy. Aircraft retrofitted with the basic “Fitted for but not with” capability (option 0) can become potential light attack helicopters, ready for weapons installation at any time. With HForce, multi-purpose helicopters are armed with the entire operational spectrum, allowing militaries that cannot invest in specialised helicopters to complete light attack missions. Defence agencies gain more flexibility in the management of their weapon stock because weapon pods allow arms to be interchanged from one aircraft to another.