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Special operations

Special operations

Special operations are highly demanding missions that depend on performance, manoeuvrability, 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-tonne-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. 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 with unmanned aerial vehicles.

The H135M can be offered with a fire control system; 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, such as a machine gun or rockets.

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

In the four-tonne class, Airbus’ H145M opens with its power, range, endurance, and payload capability, can be deployed for various special operations missions. These include combat group transport, or the ability to be equipped with the HForce modular weapon system and a wide range of weapon configurations (machine gun, rockets, guided rockets, missiles) for escort or fire support missions.

The optimised 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. Its cabin volume also accommodates the safe boarding of a combat group.

Thanks to its state-of-the-art glass cockpit (the Helionix® avionics suite – coupled with a highly capable 4-axis digital autopilot system), the H145M can perform demanding special missions with great efficiency and precision.

Heavy helicopters

Airbus’ Cougar/Super Puma family is proven in special operations missions, combining a large set of mission role equipment, lift capability, range and survivability.

Its latest version, the 11-tonne-class H225M, continues this heritage. The H225M’s large cabin accommodates up to 28 troop seats, and gives easy access via two large double sliding cargo doors in the centre 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 include a highly advanced automatic flight control system with a 4-axis dual duplex digital autopilot equipped with a variety of valuable modes (hover precision, stability, auto transition, etc.) to ease operations in the harshest conditions and reduce pilot workload during the most demanding mission phases.

The H225M can be fitted with a wide range of mission role equipment (dual hoist, abseiling fast roping, sling, armour protection, sling, etc.).

The H225M’s outstanding 700 nautical mile range can be extended with the rotorcraft’s air-to-air or hover-in-flight refuelling capabilities. Its Sirina mission planning system allows for quick and precise mission preparation taking into account the impact from mission equipment and armament configurations on helicopter mission performance.

Specialised helicopters

Rounding out special operations is the NH90, a multi-role platform with two variants (for tactical transport or maritime and amphibious combat operations), which can be deployed from land and sea.

The NH90 can be fitted with a wide range of mission equipment including a 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 and unloaded.

With its high degree of performance, reactive fly-by-wire flight controls,  tactical forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor that is interfaced with the helmet mounted sight, and radar and navigation system, the NH90 offers good tactical flight handling qualities that, combined with its passive electronic suite and its low radar signature, make it discreet in hostile zones. In addition, its unrivalled level of equipment redundancy increase its survivability in the event of a hit.

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


H135 military training infographic    
H145M Infographic    
Infographic H225M    


The multi-role workhorse    
Airbus Helicopters delivers final H145M to the German Air Force    
Airbus Helicopters delivers final H145M to the German Air Force    
Airbus Helicopters delivers final H145M to the German Air Force    
Troop transport and MEDEVAC    
H145M Bundesweswehr    
NH90 TTH    
NH90 TTH    
NH90 TTH    
NH90 TTH    
NH90 TTH    
Heavy attack helicopter    
Military Transport    
H145M Infographic    

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