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Since the Federal Republic of Germany from NATO, a Special Operations Air Task Unit - Rotary Wing (Maritime) (SOATU - RW (M)) has agreed to an Integrated Project Team (IPT) was set up recently for the project MH-SOF (Marine helicopter for special operations). According to reports, would have to be met a need of seven appropriate to meet the needs of special forces in the maritime sector helicopters. The required number is obtained from the NATO quantification of a Special Operations Air Task Unit - Rotary Wing with two to six helicopters and associated personnel.

Exposures to the MH-SOF

A presentation of an army representative on the 31st International Helicopter Forum in Bückeburg (03-04th July 2019) to the demands of such a helicopter are formulated. The model must be einschiffungsfähig, armament, fast roping and rappelling permit and have a radar for locating ships. For a maritime operation, a comprehensive country-capable chassis and corresponding locks are needed.

The helicopter must support the continuing and unqualified operation ability of the special forces and ensure. As the core competencies of SOATU RW (M) are required: Shipments / Opposed boarding, Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO), logistics support, fledging of staff, and HRO (Hostage release operation). Opposed boarding is the discontinuation of special forces on a ship / boat against the resistance of the occupation. For this purpose from a SOATU RW (M) is required to accommodate up to 16 special forces soldiers, including equipment or to transport payload up to 2,000 kg. If the RW SOATU Wergen formed of two helicopters, a need for transport of at least eight fully equipped special forces troops or one tonne payload per helicopter would result. The potential use of space is provided with two hours of flight time, or a radius of 100 nautical miles (back and forth).

How can be challenging maritime landings, you can see in this deck landing of a Sea Lynx on the patrol ship Ejnar Mikkelsen the Royal Danish Navy in rough seas in the North Atlantic. (Video: Prism Defense)

When selecting a possible helicopter, the Bundeswehr would consider reportedly the family thought to use technical and logistical advantages of future naval helicopter fleet. According to the current state of the Navy will conduct at least two patterns in the future. As a replacement for the Sea King of the Sea Lion of Airbus Helicopters has been selected.

Whether the Sea Lion is suitable for the job as a special forces helicopter is questionable. The Sea Lion fulfills the requirements of reach, carrying capacity and deck landing capability / Einschiffbarkeit. The limited ground clearance of the helicopter caused by the maritime 360-degree radar and suspended in the bow, rotary sensor container is a disadvantage. This could pose a risk in operations from sea to land and possible disabilities when landing on uneven ground would be necessary to cause.

For the Sea Tigers, the successor of the Sea Lynx, a selection decision expected imminently. The following potential successors are available:

  • MH-60R Seahawk Sikorsky (Lockheed Martin)
  • NH90 NFH (Naval Frigate Helicopter) of Airbus Helicopters
  • AW159 Leonardo

As of today uses the Special Forces Command Naval next Sea King and Sea Lynx naval if required, H145M the Air Force. (Video: Bundeswehr)

Open planning categories

After defining the requirements for a potential helicopter defining the planning categories staff, organization, infrastructure and education is the lecture by now pending.

Both the creation of additional posts, and they have been filled with qualified staff provide experience shows that significant obstacles to the armed forces represent. Possible checkpoints could be, for example, whether the flying personnel for this SOATU RW (M) would have to be made mandatory by the Navy or where such personnel could be organisationally subordinate to the most appropriate. If the order to the Navy endure, it should be examined whether the designated naval aviation personnel also the Special Forces status, similar to the pilots of H145M LUH SOF (Light Utility Helicopter Special Operations Forces) of the Air Force would need. According to reports, the examination of these outstanding issues should be completed 2020th

André Forkert