Aerial Warfare

German Air Force H145M Helicopter Completes Trial of Helicopter-launched Smoke Screen

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German Air Force H145M Helicopter Completes Trial of Helicopter-launched Smoke Screen
German Air Force H145M Helicopter Completes Trial of Helicopter-launched Smoke Screen

The German Armed Forces Technical and Airworthiness Center for Aircraft (WTD 61) demonstrated the capability to adapt and test the Rapid Obscuring System (ROSY) on the Airbus H145M light utility helicopter (LUH) employed by the German special operations forces (SOF). The German defense procurement agency (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr; BAAINBw) claims to be the world’s first trial of a smoke screen deployed from a helicopter. BAAINBW says that special forces could particularly benefit from this development. Airbus was developing a smoke screen for the helicopter that would be deployed during the insertion of troops in the hover.

ROSY is the brand new smoke screen system of Rheinmetall Defence for protection of vehicles against all line-of-sight weapons, such as small arms, RPGs and Laser guided weapons. Unlike the conventional smoke protection systems in use around the world today, Rosy® is able to generate dynamic smoke screens as well as spontaneous, large-area and multispectral interruption of the line of sight (LOS). Rosy thus provides sustained protection for moving and stationary objects. Moreover, its multimission capability represents a sure defence against stream and wave attacks. Due to its integrated IR jamming and decoying capabilities, Rosy effectively counters conventional weapons, weapons with optical devices and laser distance measurement.

German Air Force H145M Helicopter Completes Trial of Helicopter-launched Smoke Screen
German Air Force H145M Helicopter Completes Trial of Helicopter-launched Smoke Screen. (Photo by Bundeswehr AIN)

By early November 2021, Rheinmetall is due to deliver 150 ROSY system kits, with a further 390 to follow by the end of October 2022. Potential for additional deliveries definitely exists: in June 2020 the Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) entered a framework agreement with RMMV for the supply of up to 4,000 swap-body trucks, a large percentage of which were to feature an armoured cab. In a first call-off, an order was issued for production of 540 vehicles, 230 of them with protected cabs. Delivery commenced in early 2021. The goal is to make sure that the Bundeswehr has enough trucks in 2023 when Germany takes over leadership of the VJTF, NATO’s spearhead rapid reaction force.

Airbus H145 is a twin-engine light utility helicopter developed and manufactured by Airbus Helicopters. Military variants of the helicopter have also been produced under various designations, such as H145M or UH-72 Lakota, and have been used for training, logistics, medical evacuation, reconnaissance, light attack, and troop-transport operations. It can be outfitted with ballistic protection, self-sealing fuel tanks, electro optical/infrared sensor, retractable pintle-mounted and an electronic warfare self-protection system. The German Air Force ordered 15 of H145Ms 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.

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