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2020, the Bundeswehr plans to H145M LUH SOF (Light Utility Helicopter Special Operations Forces) Airbus Helicopters first to move into the insert. Previously, the H145M LUH SOF will complete its operational test.

When used in Afghanistan (mission "Resolute Support") shall form the helicopter together with the NH90 a team and as "Chase" its protection - for example, at a forward air medevac missions - take over.

The H145M could perform on-site if necessary special forces operations. As the helicopter crew can likewise consist of members of the special forces of the army, an independent H145M special forces deployment without shares Special Forces Command (KSK), or Special Forces Command of the Navy (KSM). Due to the currently limited armament capability of the impact effect of such a stand-alone deployment would be very limited.

The use in Resolute Support is planned as a conventional deployment in support of the NH90. But the air force seems to have found in the new helicopter favor, which in addition to the performance, among other things to the high availability of the machines.

The combination H145M with the NH90 is not without controversy. So far, either TIGER or a second NH90 took over the escort because of H145M is not only slower than the NH90, but also has a significantly lower operational range. Therefore, if necessary continue to "purebred" NH90 operations to be carried out.

Need for additional armament

Parts of the Helicopter Wing 64 (HSG 64) in Laupheim have the status of SOF. To run an independent special forces operations calls for the Air Force for this contract an outfit of H145M with another armament.

H145M LUH SOF - Spezialkräfte Hubschrauber geht in den Einsatz
H145M LUH SOF - Spezialkräfte Hubschrauber geht in den Einsatz

The Helicopter Wing 64 tested the first Mini-Gun of the Bundeswehr. (Video: Bundeswehr)

So far is only the MG6 (Dillon Aero M134D Gatling Minigun 7.62 mm x 51) to choose from. were Angedacht from the beginning more Armament options such as axis-parallel machine guns and missiles. But the introduced in the army options - unguided 70 mm rockets and 12.7 mm MG FN HMP 400 Pod of FN Herstal - are too imprecise for the SOF use. Therefore, alternative a coaxial weaponry required. Here are among other Laser-guided 70 mm rocket - there are several market-available solutions - or a more precise coaxial MG in question. This includes for example the Dillon Aero Gun Pod, a M134D-H weapon with up to 3,000 rounds / min. 7.62x51mm NATO (weight 159 kg when loaded) comprises. The part of users is also shows interest in Airbus HForce system which will be used among others in the Serbian H145M variant. However, all solutions automatically lead to new challenges. Because the empty weight of the machine will inevitably rise thanks to additional suspensions, cabling, etc. Already, the planes fly with full tanks (for max. Range) and a four-man team KSK weight, at the limit.

André Forkert