Airbus Helicopters has announced the first flight of its H145M fitted with the HForce weapon system.
The H145M completed a maiden flight with the HForce kit installed at Donauwörth, Bavaria at the end of August.
The Airbus-designed HForce modular weapon system allows the H145M to be equipped with a variety of guided and ballistic armament including missiles and laser-guided rockets, guns, machine guns and unguided rockets.
Qualification of HForce for use on the H145M is planned for next year.
“The next steps prior to qualification include a firing campaign, testing the whole fire mission spectrum through guns, cannons and rockets in Hungary as well as tests on the laser-guided rockets in Sweden before the end of the year,” said Jean-Luc André, HForce Program Manager at Airbus Helicopters. “As the launch customer for the H145M with the HForce weapon system, the Republic of Serbia has ordered nine H145M aircraft, including four attack helicopters equipped with HForce”, he added.
While six of the Serbian helicopters will be delivered for use by the Ratno Vazduhoplovstvo i Protivvazduhoplovna Odbrana (RV i PVO – Serbian Air Force and Air Defence), three will be delivered to the interior ministry for use by a helicopter unit at Nikola Tesla International Airport in Belgrade. The value of the contract, signed between Airbus and Serbia’s defence and interior ministries, has not been announced. Presumably, the four HForce-equipped aircraft will be part of the RV i PVO order.
As well as Serbia, other customers for the H145M include the German armed forces – which in June received their 15th H145M LUH SOF helicopter – as well as Thailand.
The HForce weapon system can also be installed on the H125M, H145M and H225M.