Airbus Helicopters has completed a first firing campaign with the HForce-equipped H145M.
The ballistic development test took place recently at Pápa air base in Hungary. Systems tested comprised FN Herstal HMP400 machine gun pods, Thales FZ231 unguided rockets and the Nexter NC621 cannon. These were utilised with a Wescam MX-15 electro-optical targeting system and the Thales Scorpion helmet-mounted sight display.
“This is an important milestone towards the qualification of HForce on the H145M, which is planned for end 2018”, said Axel Humpert, head of the H145 programme. “The positive results of this first ballistic development test are the outcome of a very good and professional co-operation between all parties involved, especially with the Hungarian Ministry of Defence.”
The next steps prior to the qualification of the HForce on the H145M are the development testing of laser-guided rockets in Sweden before the end of the year as well as additional live-firing trials next summer.
The H145M completed a maiden flight with the HForce kit installed at Donauwörth, Bavaria at the end of August.
The following month, Jean-Luc André, HForce programme manager, said: “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.”
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. Qualification of the ‘core’ HForce system is on track for the end of this year, following an extensive flight-test campaign carried out on a H225M test-bed.