The German defense ministry said on August 20 it is deploying two H-145M helicopters to Afghanistan to support the mission to evacuate people from Kabul, which fell into the hands of the Taliban on August 14. The choppers have the capacity to land in densely populated areas of cities and remote regions. The helicopters, operated by Germany’s elite commando unit known as the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK), will be tasked with transferring Afghans who collaborated with the former government and ally forces from all around Kabul to the Hamid Karzai International Airport. German Armed Forces aircraft have so far evacuated more than 1,600 people, when the Taliban took control of the city.
Racing against time to evacuate not only Germans but also thousands of local Afghan helpers and their families, the German military aims to get the evacuees to Kabul airport in a bid to fly them out of the war-stricken country. Germany decided on such an operation to circumvent the Taliban checkpoints at the gates of the airport. Taliban previously said they would let everyone leave but have already started seeking out former government officials and Afghan interpreters. On August 19, the Taliban killed the relative a Deutsche Welle journalist they were hunting. Deutsche Welle also said the the group had raided the homes of several journalists working for the agency.
The Airbus Helicopters H145m is a twin-engine light military utility helicopter developed and manufactured by Airbus Helicopters. Originally designated as the BK 117, the H145 is based upon the MBB/Kawasaki BK 117 C1, which became a part of the combined Eurocopter line-up in 1992 with the merger of Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm’s helicopter division of Daimler-Benz and the helicopter division of Aérospatiale-Matra to form Eurocopter. Military variants of the helicopter have also been produced under various designations, such as UH-72, and have been used for training, logistics, medical evacuation, reconnaissance, light attack, and troop-transport operations.
In 2017, Airbus Helicopters has delivered the 15th and final H145M multi-role helicopter to the German Armed Forces ( Bundeswehr). The helicopters, stationed in Laupheim, are operated by the special forces. As the launch customer, the Bundeswehr ordered 15 of these high-performance helicopters in 2013 as part of the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) Special Operations Forces (SOF) project and received the first aircraft at the end of 2015. The Bundeswehr’s H145M LUH SOF helicopters are equipped with a fast roping system to transport special forces, a high-performance camera system for reconnaissance, as well as equipment for fire support during deployment, enabling special forces to use the helicopters in a wide variety of new fields.