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Previously known as the EC145, the Airbus H145 is a twin-engine light helicopter which was co-developed with Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan and first flew in 1999. Over 1,500 have been built to date and have been used for a variety of roles including Search and Rescue, police and corporate transports. The standard H-145 is also operated by the RAF as the Jupiter HT1 training helicopter and by the US Army as the UH-72 Lakota as a light utility helicopter. A specialised military version known as the H145M has also been developed and is fitted with ballistic protection, machine gun mounts, military standard avionics and it can also use rocket pods mounted on side pylons.
The German Air Force version of the H145M, known as the H145M LUH SOF has been specially developed to support special forces operations, particularly at night with a variety of special sensors and a maximum cargo weight that is 50kg higher than the civilian version. Able to operate in all climate conditions with up to nine fully equipped special forces operatives in the cabin, typical missions include special reconnaissance, insertion of special forces and hostage rescue operations.
The German Air Force will be sending over a single H145M LUH SOF helicopter to appear on static display at this year's Air Tattoo. The Helicopter is being provided by Hubschraubergeschwader 64 from Laupheim Air Base.
Photo Credit: Glenn Stanley