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Special operations

Special operations

Special operations are highly demanding missions that depend on performance, maneuverability, range and discretion. 

Airbus’ military rotorcraft product line is up to the challenge, offering a full range of capabilities in the lightweight and heavy categories.


Light single-engine helicopters

Airbus’ single-engine H125M has a small visual silhouette, reduced radar signature and the agility to perform combat flight – including nap-of-the-Earth profiles, making this two-ton-class rotorcraft a versatile special operations platform.

It can carry a machine gun or cannon, sniper rifle and air-to-ground guided missiles, with growth potential available for guided rockets and air-to-air missiles. As one of the most capable helicopters in its class, the H125M delivers excellent capabilities, especially in high and hot environments.

Light twin-engine helicopters

The three-tonne category H135M can be equipped with a wide range of communications and navigation equipment, including tactical VHF/UHF radios and a satellite communications system, providing data transfer capabilities for exchanging reconnaissance, surveillance and target data with other forces or unmanned aerial vehicles.

The H135M is offered with a stand-alone weapon system (SAWS) that integrates a multipurpose mission computer; electro-optical system with infrared/TV camera and laser rangefinder; helmet-mounted sight display; and a ballistic targeting system, among other features. Providing upgraded high and hot performance, increased maximum takeoff weight, improved flight envelope and extended range, the H135M can also be armed with a range of weapons.

When fitted with an external hook or hoist, the H135M is a special operations workhorse, accommodating up to six persons and two pilots in the cabin.

In the four-tonne class, Airbus’ H145M opens a multitude of deployment possibilities with its power, range, endurance and payload capability. Employing an open-system architecture, the incremental weapon system can accommodate a wide choice of ballistic and guided weapon configurations.

The optimized ratio of the cabin volume to the ground footprint, along with its low sound levels and reduced infrared signature, make the H145M a discreet and efficient ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance) platform.

Further adding to its capabilities are Airbus’ state-of-the-art glass cockpit and Helionix® avionics suite – coupled with a highly capable 4-axis digital autopilot system – which ensure the H145M can perform demanding special missions with high efficiency and precision.


Heavy helicopters

Airbus’ Cougar/Super Puma family is proven in special operations missions, combining lift capability, range and survivability.

Its latest version, the 11-tonne-class H225M, continues this heritage. The H225M’s large cabin accommodates up to 29 cabin seats, or 20 energy-absorbing wall mounted seats, and easy access via two large double central sliding cargo doors and two individual hinged doors for the crew.

Ready for deployment in all environments, the H225M is qualified for flight in icing conditions, for day and night operations with state-of-the-art night vision goggle compatibility, and in sandy or maritime conditions. Its glass cockpit and avionics includes a highly advanced automatic flight control system with a 4-axis dual duplex digital autopilot.

The H225M’s outstanding range of 700 nautical miles is extended with the rotorcraft’s air-to-air refueling capability during flight as well as in hover. Its Sirina planning system enables missions to be prepared quickly and precisely according to the helicopter’s performance, with armament possibilities ranging from side-mounted gun pods or rocket launchers to machine guns in forward cabin windows. Mission equipment includes dual hoists, abseiling, fast roping systems and a sling.


Specialised helicopters

Rounding out special operations is the NH90, a multi-role platform for deployment from land and sea, with mission equipment including fast rope/rappelling system, single or dual hoist, and a door-mounted machine gun. The spacious modular cabin accommodates up to 20 equipped troops, and its rear ramp enables vehicles, mobile weapons and other equipment to be rapidly loaded/unloaded.

Latest-generation avionics incorporated in the fly-by-wire NH90 are a 4-axis autopilot and a tactical 360-degree radar, among others. It also features a tactical forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor that is interfaced with the helicopter’s radar and navigation system. The Data Link 11 digital data link facilitates information exchange with airborne, land-based and seaborne platforms.

The NH90 is qualified for all-weather operations from sea level to 6,000 meters, including flight in continuous icing conditions.




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