Serbian Air Force has taken delivery of its first Airbus H145M medium-twin helicopter during a ceremony at the Airbus Helicopters facility in Donauwörth, Germany.
The ceremony was attended by Aleksandar Vulin, the Minister of Defence of Serbia.
“We assess the implementation of the contract as an example of successful cooperation and positive business practice,” said Aleksandar Vulin. “All the activities so far have been carried out within the agreed deadlines, and we expect the future activities to be implemented in the same manner. We are particularly pleased to point out that the activities of the industrial cooperation covered by the contract are taking place within the planned timelines.”
“I would like to thank the Serbian government and personally Defence Minister Vulin for their trust in the latest member of our H145 family and for the smooth cooperation since the negotiations started in 2016,” said Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Germany. “We see a lot more opportunities for the H145M in Europe and beyond.”
The country will in total acquire nine H145M helicopters from Airbus. The contract for procurement, associated services and related industrial cooperation was signed in Belgrade between Airbus, the Serbian Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior on 28 December 2016.
Six helicopters will be delivered to the Serbian Ministry of Defence for use by the Serbian Air Force while the remaining three will be delivered to Serbian Ministry of Interior for use by its subordinated Helicopter Unit based at Belgrade Nikola Tesla international airport.
The contract between Airbus Helicopters and Serbia foresees transfer of technology, spare parts, tools and documentation for the helicopters’ maintenance and repair. Airbus Helicopters will also certify Serbia’s Moma Stanojlovic aeronautical plant as a centre for the maintenance of Gazelle helicopters and will include it in its overhaul network. Airbus will also support Serbian manufacturing plants and research and development institutions to obtain relevant qualifications and certificates to become a supplier.
Serbia was revealed as the launch customer for the Airbus Helicopters HForce weapon management system and four out of nine helicopters ordered will be equipped with HForce system. In December, two H145Ms will be delivered to the Serbian Ministry of Interior. The last of the six Air Force helicopters will arrive by the end of 2019.
With this procurement, the Serbian Air Force and Police will benefit from the capabilities offered by the latest generation helicopters, which will be tasked with transport, search and rescue (SAR), combat, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), surveillance and security. The H145M has several optional equipment packages that can be installed or removed depending on the assigned mission.
The Serbian aircraft will be equipped with a fast roping system, high-performance camera, fire support equipment, ballistic protection as well as an electronic countermeasures system to support the most demanding operational requirements. The HForce system, developed by Airbus Helicopters, will allow Serbia to equip and operate their aircraft with a large set of ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons.
The H145M is a tried-and-tested light twin-engine helicopter that was first delivered in 2015 to the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) and has since been ordered by Hungary, Thailand and the Republic of Serbia. Mission readiness of the H145Ms already in service is above 95 percent.
Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145M is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145M the quietest helicopter in its class.
With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tonnes, the H145M can be used for a wide range of tasks, including troop transport, utility, surveillance, air rescue, armed reconnaissance and medical evacuation.