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Airbus developing in-flight smoke screen to protect hovering H145M helos

04 November 2019
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The H145M demonstrates its special forces credentials with the German KSK special forces counter-terrorism unit. Airbus is developing a smoke-screen that can protect the H145M when in the vulnerable hover. Source: Airbus Helicopters

Airbus Helicopters is developing a smoke screen to be deployed from its H145M helicopter when inserting troops in the hover, a senior company representative said on 4 November.

Speaking on the opening day of the Airbus Defence and Space (DS) Trade Media Briefing 2019 at the company's Donauworth facility near Munich, Mark Henning, Senior Programme Manager H145M Governmental Business, said that the system, which is a first for helicopters, has shown positive results in early ground-based tests.

"We are developing an in-flight rapid obscuration system to make the H145M invisible during the most dangerous phase of its mission - when hovering at about 20 m when dropping troops. This has been done for vehicles, but never before for helicopters. We have proven it conceptually, and the results have been very good," Henning said.

As Henning noted, the system works by equipping the helicopter with side- and under-fuselage mounted smoke dispensers that when fire create "a fence" of obscuring smoke around the aircraft. This smoke obscures both the helicopter's visual and infrared signatures.

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