Airbus Helicopters is introducing the first US-built H125 helicopters in military configurations, known as AH-125 and MH-125 Ares, to the company’s range to position the platforms for military and parapublic operators around the world.

The AH-125 Ares will be configured as the armed variant of the helicopter, while the MH-125 Ares will be configured as a multirole helicopter. The new offerings are intended to complement the line of military helicopters already produced by Airbus, including the H125M, according to the company in a 24 April statement.

In addition, Airbus stated that, globally, the H125 family accounts for almost 80% of the single-engine market and has the highest number of certified modifications (supplemental type certificates) available.

With the addition of a flexible weapons capability, the H125 helicopter will be re-configurable between mission sets in less than 30 minutes, ranging between light attack, air assault, search and rescue, casualty evacuation, and disaster response, as well as other combat and parapublic operations.

MAG Aerospace will perform the weapons installation design, engineering, certification and manufacturing. The helicopter will accommodate weapons such as a 50cal (12.7mm) gun and unguided rockets, with precision-guided weapons listed as a “growth option”.

European aerospace giant Airbus has achieved a number of successes in penetrating a US parapublic and military aviation market with no shortage of competition. Currently, the H125 is the light enforcement helicopter used by US Customs and Border Protection, with more than 100 H125 family aircraft in service, making the US Government the single largest customer and operator of the aircraft.

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For military use, Airbus have provided more than 480 UH-72A and UH-72B Lakota platforms to the US Army and National Guard. The company also supports the US Coast Guard’s fleet of nearly 100 MH-65 helicopters.

Global market to show significant growth

According to GlobalData research the global military rotorcraft market was valued at $18.1bn in 2022 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.90% to reach a value of $24.0bn by 2032. The cumulative market size for the global military rotorcraft market is anticipated to be valued at $225.3bn over the forecast period.

The Asia-Pacific region, supported by China, India, South Korea, and Australia with their multi-year procurement programmes, is expected to maintain its leading position globally, exhibiting a steady pace of growth over the forecast period.