Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter / MBB) Bo 105 Light Utility Civilian / Military Helicopter
The Airbus Helicopters Bo 105 light utility helicopter has seen military and civilian service across the world with production totals reaching over 1,500 units.
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The Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter / MBB) Bo 105 is a light utility helicopter system recognized around the globe for its versatility, performance and safety record. The product has served (and continues to do so) in both military and civilian capacities since introduction in the early 1970s. Operators are seen throughout the world providing general transport, reconnaissance, assessment, and an Anti-Tank (AT) over-battlefield functionality The militarized version is capable of mounting the HOT and HOT-2 anti-tank missile system (or similar) making for one lethal and adept battlefield solution.
The Bo 105 flew in prototype form on February 16th, 1967 and two more prototypes followed. The aircraft was fitted with 2 x Allison 250-C18 turboshaft engines driving its four-bladed main rotor and two-bladed tail rotor. As the program evolved, a composite main rotor blade unit was brought along and the Allison engines were superseded by 2 x MAN-Turbo 6022 series units. By the time of the second pre-production aircraft, the series was back to using the Allison 250 series engines.
With production having begun back in 1967, service introduction followed in 1970 and manufacture of some 1,500 helicopters was recorded into 2001 (from Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm - "MBB"). Initial service models were the Bo 105A and Bo 105C, the latter appearing in 1972 and carrying Allison 250-C20 engines. The Bo 105Cb incorporated a light observation and utility transport dual-role nature and appeared in 1976 with -C20B engines. The Bo 105CBS became a stretched transport model. Other specialty forms soon emerged including the Bo 105D British model for offshore platform work, the Bo 105ATH Anti-Tank helicopter of the Spanish Army and the Bo 105MSS maritime patrol system (carrying a search radar).
The Bo 105 went on to enjoy frontline roles in various military, government and civilian circles. Military operators ranged from Albania and Bahrain to Sudan and Uruguay. The West German Army became one of the largest military operators of the helicopter - adopting it in the hundreds through the available reconnaissance and anti-armor guises. Police services in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain are also noted. Some forces, including the New York Police Department, have retired their stock of Bo 105 helicopters.
Fewer than 700 Bo 105 helicopters fly today and the product was replaced in Eurocopter marketing by the newer EC 145. The Eurocopter name has now given way to the Airbus Helicopters brand label.