Airbus Helicopters offers three highly capable and efficient rotorcraft for armed scout missions: the H125M, H135M and H145M. These helicopters build on a company heritage that traces its roots to the Gazelle – the world’s first versatile armed scout rotorcraft. Airbus Helicopters SAS (formerly Eurocopter Group) is the helicopter manufacturing division of Airbus. It is the largest in the industry in terms of revenues and turbine helicopter deliveries. Its head office is located at Marseille Provence Airport in Marignane, France, near Marseille. Airbus Helicopters was formed in 1992 as Eurocopter Group, through the merger of the helicopter divisions of Aérospatiale and DASA. The company’s heritage traces back to Blériot and Lioré et Olivier in France and to Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf in Germany.
Airbus’ single-engine H125M (previously known as AS550 Fennec) is the most capable armed scout helicopter in its two-metric-tonne class, tailored for reconnaissance and attack missions with excellent capabilities in high and hot environments. Powered by Turbomeca’s Arriel 2D engine with a dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system, the H125M has a small visual silhouette, reduced radar signature and the agility to perform combat flight – including nap-of-the-Earth profiles. Equipped with HForce, the crew benefits from a high-end electro-optical system (EOS) and helmet-mounted sight display (HMSD) for improved reconnaissance and identification, and reduced workload onboard. HForce can accommodate a wide set of armaments qualified on this helicopter including a podded 12.7-mm machine gun, 20-mm cannon pod, 70-mm rockets. Side-mounted weaponry includes a 7.62-mm machine gun and installed sniper rifle. Growth potential is available for guided rockets and air-to-ground missiles.
In the three-tonne category, Airbus’ H135M (previously known as EC635) is the armed scout’s version of its H135 twin-engine helicopter, enhanced with improved high and hot performance, increased maximum takeoff weight, improved flight envelope and extended range. It can be armed with 12-tube and 7-tube rocket launchers, a 20-mm cannon pod and 12.7-mm machine gun pod, along with growth potential for laser-guided rockets and air-to-air missiles. Airbus offers the H135M equipped with a weapon system that integrates a multipurpose mission computer; an electro-optical system with infrared/TV camera and laser rangefinder; a helmet-mounted sight display; and a ballistic targeting system, among other features. The H135M has Airbus’ four-blade fibre-reinforced composite bearingless main rotor and signature Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor, which provide increased survivability against ground fire, while also reducing vibration and noise levels.
The H145M (previously known as EC145 T2)is the latest four-tonne-class twin-engine military helicopter in Airbus’ product range, providing a multitude of deployment possibilities with its power, range, endurance and payload capability. The H145M is equipped with HForce, which allows the crew to utilise a high-end electro-optical system (EOS) and helmet-mounted sight display (HMSD) for better reconnaissance and identification, and reduced workload onboard. The HForce incremental weapon system can accommodate a wide choice of ballistic and guided weapon configurations – from 12- and 7-tube rocket- and guided-rocket launchers to a 20-mm cannon pod, 12.7-mm machine gun pod and air-to-ground missiles. Fitted with two Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines – each managed by a dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC) – the H145M retains excellent performance throughout the flight envelope, particularly when operating at altitudes of 6,000 ft. and in 95 deg. F. environments – known as “6K/95 high and hot” conditions.