The German army could replace its Tiger attack helicopters with H145M with anti-tank capability

Initially involved in the development of the Mk3 standard of the Tiger attack helicopter, Germany eventually decided to pass its turn and drop France and Spain. This decision is said to have been prompted by the availability of the approximately fifty devices that are in use within the Heer [la composante terrestre de la Bundeswehr], which is much too low. Indeed, and according to Christine Lambrecht, then Minister of Defense, only 9 were airworthy in April 2022…

The Bundeswehr has also been considering replacing its Tigers for some time. And the most mentioned candidate is the AH-64E Guardian of the American Boeing. However, according to Business Insider Deutschland, based on internal documents, the German Defense Ministry has other intentions.

It would indeed consider the purchase, for about 3 billion euros, of 82 light helicopters H145M [dont 15 exemplaires sont déjà utilisés par le Kommando Spezialkräfte des forces spéciales allemandes] and to equip 24 of them with an anti-tank capability.

Originally intended for the civilian market, the H145 has been available in a military version since 2014, with two new Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines with digital control [Fadec] and the ability to carry a gun pod, laser-guided missiles [comme la FZ275 LGR de Thales] and anti-tank missiles, such as the Spike ER [Extended Range] of the Israeli Rafael, for which tests were carried out in 2022.

On the occasion of the ILA air show in Berlin. Last year, Airbus Helicopters presented to the German Ministry of Defense a new version of its H145M, this one with a five-bladed rotor to increase the payload to almost two tons. In addition, the manufacturer had announced the creation of the “LUH SK – Team H145M” team, which included in particular Hensoldt Sensors, Hensoldt Avionics, Liebherr-Aerospace, Rohde & Schwarz, Safran Helicopter Engines and ZF Luftfahrttechnik.

“We have a solid product with very high availability, guaranteed short delivery times and we have organized weapon system support with a large number of German companies. […] With the training of the team, we offer the Bundeswehr a complete configuration that can be obtained quickly and efficiently,” argued Wolfgang Schoder, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters Germany at the time.

That said, and still according to Business Insider Deutschland, the conversion of 24 H145M into attack helicopters would not be unanimous within the Bundeswehr, some see it as a “purely political decision that ignores operational needs”. This would at least be the opinion of the Wehrtechnische Dienststellen 61 [WTD 61 – Centre technique de la Bundeswehr pour les aéronefs et les équipements aéronautiques, ndlr]the latter points in particular to the lack of protection for the crews.

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