Thales Group has secured a new contract from Airbus Helicopters to test its rocket systems that would help upgrade the mission capability of the H145M multi-role military helicopter.
Under the terms of the contract, Thales will be responsible for carrying out tests on both of its rocket systems, the 70mm Nato and the 68mm Induction.
The project aims to provide strengthened mission capabilities to the Airbus Helicopters’ platforms equipped with its new weapon management system, HForce, and will help reduce the risk of collateral damage caused to the armed forces.
In October, Airbus concluded a ballistic development test of an HForce weapon system integrated on to an H145M aircraft at the Bakony Combat Training Center (BCTC) in Hungary.
The test was carried out using unguided 70mm / 2.75in rockets, with a FZ231 12 tube launcher, and a Scorpion helmet-mounted sight display provided by Thales.
In December, test firings of Thales 70mm / 2.75in laser-guided rockets were carried out on the Airbus helicopter at the Älvdalen test range of the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration Flight Test Centre.
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The laser-guided air-to-ground rocket was capable of improving target engagement capabilities with precision to within 1m while reducing platform vulnerability.
Thales’ Aculeus Induction laser-guided rocket was successfully test fired in 2014.
The final qualification for the rocket systems is planned for the end of next year.
Airbus Helicopters test pilot Raymond Laporte said: “The laser-guided rockets from Thales performed incredibly well, especially taking into consideration the weather conditions we experienced during the trials, which were far from ideal with a lot of moisture in the air.”
Airbus’ H145M is a medium-sized, versatile, rugged, and reliable helicopter that is capable of conducting a wide range of military missions such as transport, search-and-rescue (SAR), medevac, and armed scout.