Airbus Helicopters announced on 8 August the first flight of an H145M fitted with the company’s new HForce Generic Weapon System (GWS).
The flight, which took place at the company’s Donauwörth facility in southern Germany at the end of August, saw the twin-engined helicopter fly with an FN Herstal 12.7 mm (.50 calibre) heavy machine gun pod (HMP) and a 70 mm (2.75 inch) rocket pod on side-mounted weapons pylons.
Following this initial test, live firing trials are planned to take place in Hungary and Sweden before the end of the year. As noted by Airbus Helicopters, the qualification of HForce GWS for use on the H145M is planned for 2018. Serbia has signed up as the launch customer for the H145M and HForce GWS combination, with four of the nine helicopters it recently ordered to be fitted with the system.
Airbus Helicopters first showcased the HForce GWS in March 2016 as a new modular weapons system for its H125M, H145M, and/or H225M range of rotorcraft. It is billed as offering operators the ability to quickly and easily weaponise unarmed platforms by means of the Rockwell Collins Deutschland (RCD) FMC-4212 General Purpose Computer (GPC), the Thales' Scorpion monocular helmet-mounted sight display (HMSD), a Wescam electro-optical sensor, as well as gunner armament weapon grips and weapon pods. Besides the 12.7 mm machine gun and 70 mm rocket pods flown on the first flight of the H145M, the HForce GWS also includes the option of a 20 mm cannon, as well as air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles.
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