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Germany places record order for H145M helicopters

The H145M LKH will bridge the Tiger in the light attack role, as Germany considers its longer-term replacement options. (Airbus)

Germany has placed the largest ever order for Airbus H145M battlefield support helicopters, with the Bundeswehr contracting the rotorcraft and accompanying weapons systems to partially replace its Airbus Tigers and to support its special forces.

Announced on 14 December, the contract that will be funded primarily from the EUR100 billion (USD108 billion) special fund covers 62 (with an option for a further 20) helicopters, with the German Army (Heer) receiving 57 to begin the Tiger replacement process and the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) receiving five for its special forces. It also includes the HForce weapons system, and support.

“When purchasing the helicopter, the Bundeswehr deliberately chose a type of helicopter that was available on the market and was already used by the special forces and for rescue missions. In addition to the production and delivery of the helicopters, the framework agreement concluded today also includes spare parts, eight training simulators, the training of flying and technical personnel, as well as extensive services for the operation of the helicopters over a period of seven years,” the Bundeswehr said.

The H145M will take over light attack duties from the German Army's Airbus Tiger combat helicopters (Kampfhubschrauber: KH), to be known as H145M Leichter Kampfhubschrauber (LKH). This will be a bridging solution to avoid a capability gap as the Tiger faces obsolescence issues following Germany's earlier decision not to partake in the Mk III upgrade. The Bundeswehr told Janes in May that the Tiger KH fleet will be slowly reduced from 2031 to 2038, and that it is working towards a long-term replacement.

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