The Eurocopter EC145 is a light-to-medium-lift transport helicopter produced under the Airbus Helicopters label (formerly Eurocopter/Eurocopter Group). The utility system has proven popular in both military and civilian quarters where it has proven itself a capable lifting machine. First flight of a prototype vehicle was recorded on June 12th, 1999 and introduction was seen in 2002. Production is ongoing, including manufacture of U.S. Army/Navy UH-72 Lakotas in the United States. The EC145 holds origins in the MBB / Kawasaki BK117 model series which debuted in 1982 and shares a similar appearance and overall configuration.
The EC145 takes on a unique configuration as transport helicopters go. Its most notable feature is its raised tail stem which allows use of a clamshell-style twin-door system at the rear of the fuselage. This allows unfettered access to the passenger cabin which is useful in the medical transport role. Additionally there are sliding side doors fitted to the cabin and the two-pilot crew make use of traditional automobile-style doors at front. Vision out-of-the-cockpit is excellent thanks to the use of large cabin windows. The undercarriage is an uncomplicated skid arrangement which allows for touchdowns on most any surface. The main rotor sits atop the engine compartment which, itself, is mounted over the passenger cabin in the usual way. The tail rotor consists of a two-blade unit fitted high atop the main vertical tail fin. There are two outboard fins also used. The cockpit is all-digital and avionics all-modern, allowing the EC145 to be marketed to various industries including maritime services, VIP passenger transport, and medical emergency hauling. The passenger cabin can seat nine or medical patients, applicable equipment, and staff.
Power is served through 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines developing 738 horsepower each. Maximum speed is 167 miles per hour with cruising at about 150 miles per hour. Range is out to 530 miles with a service ceiling of 17,200 feet and rate-of-climb measuring 1,600 feet per minute.
EC145 designates the base transport models and are powered by the Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines with two-blade exposed tail rotor. The EC145 T2 is a upgraded model now offered based on the original EC145 but with new engines, avionics, and a shrouded Fenestron tail rotor unit. The first flyable form was handed over to German air ambulance operator in late July 2014. The EC645 T2 is the militarized version of the EC145 T2. The EC145 makes up the U.S. military's UH-72A "Lakota" series as well, detailed elsewhere on this site.
Operators of the EC145 have gone on to include Brazil, France, Germany, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States among others. Some 34 countries operate the type in both civilian and militarized versions.
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May 2016 - It was announced that Airbus Helicopters would be delivering three H145 helicopters, as well as twenty-nine H135 series helicopters, to the United Kingdom's Defense Helicopter Flying School.
January 2017 - Serbia is scheduled to receive the H145 helicopter to strengthen its fleet. These aircraft will be outfitted for various over-battlefield roles including SAR, MEDEVAC and surveillance.
May 2018 - Ukraine has inked a deal for a batch of H145 helicopters from Airbus.
June 2018 - The nation of Hungary has committed to purchase of twenty H145 helicopters. These will arrived equipped with Airbus' "HForce" common weapons platform and succeed an aging stock of Soviet-era Mil Mi-17 transports.
July 2018 - Luxembourg has moved to acquire a pair of H145M helicopters with deliveries scheduled before the end of 2019. Service entry should occur in 2020.
February 2019 - A new, five-bladed bearingless main rotor has been unveiled atop an H145 helicopter. The rotors add increased take-off loads (as much as 330lb).
October 2019 - An Airbus Helicopters H145M is being used to test Artificial Intelligence in the scope of pilot workload reduction.
December 2019 - Germany has received its first H145 configured for the Search and Rescue (SAR) role.
January 2020 - The United Kingdom has placed an order for four additional H145 " Jupiter" helicopters for the training role. Deliveries are expected to begin sometime in 2020.
February 2020 - Germany is looking to procure as many as sixty H145M light utility helicopters for a variety of roles including attack, liaison, and training. These would be used to fill the gap created by the retirement of the Bo 105 fleet in 2016.
October 2020 - The Ecuadorian Air Force has received the first two (of six ordered) H145 helicopters from Airbus.
Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) - France Manufacturer(s)
Albania; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; Cayman Islands; Ecuador; France; Germany; Hungary; Israel; Kazakhstan; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Morocco; Namibia; New Zealand; Norway; Peru; Philippines; Saudi Arabia; Serbia; Spain; Switzerland; Thailand; Ukraine; United Kingdom; United States (UH-72 Lakota)) Operators
Military versions armed with gun pods, cannon pods, and rocket pods to fulfill the armed scout / reconnaissance and airborne fire support roles. Weapons are held outboard on either side of the fuselage.
H145 - Base Series Designation under Airbus brand label.
EC145 - Original series designation under Eurocopter brand label.
EC145 T2 - Modernized variant; upgraded avionics and uprated engines; new Fenestron shrouded tail rotor.
EC645 T2 - Militarized EC145 T2 model, redesignated H145M.
H145M - Redesignation of earlier EC645 T2 production model for military service.
UH-72 "Lakota" - U.S. military variant of the EC145.
H145 "Jupiter" - British Royal Air Force designation.
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Image from official Airbus Helicopters marketing material.
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Image from official Airbus Helicopters marketing material.
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