Germany’s Special Forces Command to fly Eurocopter’s light utility helicopter
Eurocopter and the German Federal Ministry of Defense have signed a contract for 15 EC645 T2 light utility helicopters (LUH) to be used by Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK), Germany’s Special Forces Command. With this order, the Bundeswehr has now joined the customer list for the most powerful model in Eurocopter’s proven EC145 family.
The contract, worth a total of 194 million euros, includes not just the helicopters but also the related equipment packages to allow KSK to carry out its special operations missions. Deliveries of the 15 aircraft begin in late 2015 and will be completed by mid-2017.
“By selecting the EC645 T2, the Bundeswehr is setting an international benchmark,” explained Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Eurocopter Germany, during the contract signing. “They are putting their faith in proven technologies from missions around the world. Among others, the US Army successfully operates a fleet of more than 270 EC145s, the aircraft on which the EC645 T2 is based. This helicopter is an economical, low-risk and quickly available solution to carry out missions for special forces that has already won out several times against international competition.”
The EC645 T2 LUH features a modern digital cockpit with full night vision and a 4-axis autopilot. Its communication equipment including tactical radios enables interoperability among NATO forces. Special ops teams can quickly access the aircraft thanks to its spacious cabin, which has two large sliding side doors and double doors at the rear. The helicopter’s maximum take-off weight is 3.7 tonnes. Troop safety is improved by the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, particularly for flight operations in confined landing sites and whenever the rotor is turning on ground.
In addition, the mission equipment packages include fast rope system, cargo hooks and hoists. The aircraft are also equipped with pintle armament and electro-optical sensors. A self-protection system and ballistic protection further increase crew safety and aircraft survivability. The helicopter can be strategically airlifted in an Airbus A400M and quickly prepared for the mission upon arrival in a theatre of operations.