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IMH 2023: German Army looks to bolster combat power through LAH acquisition

The H145M could be a solution for the German LAH requirement, seen here firing a Rafael Spike ER2 missile in Romania in January 2022. (Airbus Helicopters)

In light of the Russia-Ukraine war, the German Army is now looking for a new fleet of light attack helicopters (LAHs) to augment its rotary-wing combat power.

Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter (IMH) 2023 conference held in London from 20 to 23 February, Lieutenant Colonel Torsten Kasper said that in the past few weeks, the army had updated its pre-existing requirement for a light utility helicopter (LUH) to a requirement for an LAH, which it envisaged would work in conjunction with the existing Airbus Tiger UHT attack helicopter fleet.

The LAH concept called for a new helicopter, which was primarily a combat platform but could also perform other roles, including utility missions and training, the official said. The army was in an expedited process of establishing the attributes of the LAH platform, which would be network-enabled from the outset, with diagnostic maintenance to provide high fleet availability, and have a manned-unmanned teaming capability, he added. The army aimed to start the procurement process for the LAH in 2023 and introduce the new fleet by 2025 at the latest, he said.

The German military was already working towards an LUH acquisition before this significant requirement change. In 2019, the Commander of the German International Helicopter Training Centre at Bückeburg, Brigadier General Ulrich Ott, said that the Bundeswehr planned to acquire a fleet of light helicopters in the “Airbus Helicopters H145M class”.

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