Airbus Helicopters H135 (Eurocopter EC135)
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Over 1,000 of the Airbus Helicopters H135 light utility systems have been manufactured since service introduction in 1996.
Detailing the development and operational history of the Airbus Helicopters H135 (Eurocopter EC135) Light Utility Helicopter (LUH). Entry last updated on 6/22/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Bo 108 began as a test program through and through. Relying on proven facets of the Bo 105, this gave engineers the freedom to incorporate smaller revisions to the overall design and led to the incorporation of a hingeless main rotor assembly, broadened use of composite construction, a more streamlined transmission arrangement, digital avionics fit in the cockpit and a bearingless conventional tail rotor unit. Power came from 2 x Allison 250-C20R-3 turboshaft engines seated over the passenger cabin. The front of the aircraft was heavily glazed as in the Bo 108 and a fixed landing skid acted as the undercarriage.
By early 1991, the Bo 108 program proved its worth and led to MBB pushing the design to a market product stage. It was also decided to rely on a different engine fit - be it the French Turbomeca "Arrius" series or a turboshaft offered by American-based Pratt & Whitney (PW206). A second prototype went airborne on June 5th, 1991 with a pair of Arrius engines in place.
The emergence of the Eurocopter brand label saw MBB and Aerospatiale both merged under it and, perhaps most important to the new helicopter program, this provided engineers unfettered access to the Aerospatiale-designed "Fenestron" shrouded tail rotor. In this arrangement, a multi-bladed unit sat within a fixed housing buried within the vertical tail fin promising reduced noise levels and optimal efficiency at the cost of complexity. With that, the Bo 108 was revised with the tail unit technology and given the new Eurocopter designation of "EC135". First flight of this product came on February 15th, 1994 and certification followed in June of 1996. Since both of the aforementioned engine fits proved successful in testing, both were offered to market customers in separate variants.
Like other helicopters of this weight class, the EC135 went on to find service careers in civilian, governmental and military circles around the world. Military operators included Australia, Brazil, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Morocco, and Spain. Police and government security forces also took to the type in considerable numbers as showcased from its usage in the skies over Argentina and Australia to Turkey and the United States.
Several variants of the EC135 base design have been realized led by the initial EC135 P1 with its Pratt & Whitney engines of 621 horsepower each. The EC135 T1 fits the Arrius engine of 583 horsepower each and these have been followed by EC135 P2 and EC135 T2 with uprated engines from PW and Turbomeca respectively. Modern production versions carry the distinguishing "+" in their designation (i.e. "EC135 P2+") and the more powerful models are EC135 P3 and EC135 T3. A military training model is available as the TH-135 (based on the EC135 T2+) and the formal military model is the evolved EC635 / H135M, this offering originally developed against a Portuguese Army requirement.
The Eurocopter name is now a subsidiary of Airbus Group which uses Airbus Helicopters as its helicopter branch brand label. As such, the EC135 is now refered to as the H135.
Any available statistics for the Airbus Helicopters H135 (Eurocopter EC135) Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
May 2016 - it was announced that Airbus Helicopters would provide twenty-nine H135 series helicopters to the UK's Defense Helicopter Flying School through the Ascent consortium. This deal also adds three H145 series helicopters.
June 2017 - Work is underway to allow for local Chinese production of the H135 product. These are intended to serve police and medical services in the country.
February 2018 - Airbus has delivered it 1,300th example of the H135 helicopter.
Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (180mph).
Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Airbus Helicopters H135's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.