Airbus has successfully performed the first firing demonstration of a Rafael Spike ER2 anti-tank guided missile from an H145M medium helicopter as part of the company’s wider effort to expand the scope and capability of the HForce generic weapons system (GWS) package. The demonstration took place at the Cincu firing range in Brasov, Romania. Among those in attendance were delegations from Germany, North Macedonia and Serbia. So far, users of the H145M are Hungary (20 Helicopters), Germany (15), Serbia (9), Thailand (5) and Luxembourg (2). According to Airbus Helicopters, the helicopter will also be offered to the Romanian army.
According to Airbus, as part of the so-called “derisking” phase, initial investigations were carried out in January at the Cincu firing range in Romania to assess the effects of the missile launch on the helicopter. The next step is to integrate the Spike anti-tank missile into the helicopter’s HForce system. Drawing on experience with the Tiger attack helicopter, HForce is modular and incremental, and can be fitted onto any military version of Airbus’ commercial helicopter range (H125M, H145M, H225M) to meet the requirements of defence agencies seeking light attack mission capabilities or a complement to their existing fleet of specialised attack helicopters.
The H145M (previously known as EC145 T2) is a multi-role twin-engine battlefield support helicopter produced by Airbus Helicopters. It is primarily intended for use by military and law enforcement agencies. Equipped with the HForce system, the H145M is already capable of deploying a Wescam MX-15 electro-optical targeting system, a Scorpion helmet mounted sight display, a 12.7mm machine gun, a M621 20mm automatic cannon, and laser-guided and unguided rockets up to 70mm caliber. Anti-armor capability will be provided by integrating SPIKE ER2 missile to the helicopter’s armament. The H145M performed its first flight with HForce weapon management system in September 2017.
Spike is an anti-tank guided missile and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge HEAT warhead, developed and designed by the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. In August 2018, Rafael disclosed the development of an enhancement of the missile called the Spike-ER II. It retains the same weight, airframe, surface geometries, and propulsion unit but introduces a two-way RF data-link to increase real-time control to an extended range of 16 km (9.9 mi) from helicopters; it also has an extended fiber optic link to increase range to 10 km (6.2 mi) from land and naval platforms. It was designed to be mounted on combat vehicles, helicopters and naval vessels.