Airbus Helicopters has been contracted by the Government of Cyprus to supply six H145Ms for operation by the Cypriot National Guard/Air Force. The deal, signed on June 24, also includes an option on a further six helicopters.
They will replace the eleven Mi-35P attack helicopters that had been in service since 2001/2 but were withdrawn from use in December 2021. Their retirement was due to a number of factors, including increasing maintenance costs and difficulty in obtaining spares from Russia. Since retirement, the latter problem has been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which resulted in EU sanctions. It is reported that Cyprus plans to sell the Mi-35Ps to Serbia, subject to successful negotiations being concluded. Serbia, as it is not part of the EU, will not be affected by the sanctions and can still obtain spares from Russia.
Andreas P Louka, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus, said “The implementation of this agreement will provide the National Guard with a cost-effective and high-performance helicopter solution that satisfies the operational requirements set by the General Staff and addresses many of the future challenges of light attack helicopter fleets. Able to operate in very demanding environments, the H145M will enhance the National Guard’s day and night capabilities in delivering rapid response, fire power and precision, providing effective combat support, and acquiring critical information.”
Olivier Michalon, Executive Vice President Global Business at Airbus Helicopters, said: "We would like to thank the Government of Cyprus for the trust they are placing in the H145M which is becoming the reference multi-role light attack helicopter on the market. Operators can use it for tactical air transport, deployment of crisis response forces, fire support, armed reconnaissance as well as the evacuation of wounded or the liberation of hostages. There are now five different customers for the H145M in Europe, adding to the interoperability of armed forces on the continent. We see a strong interest for the H145M across the world and we have several ongoing campaigns, which is very promising for this aircraft.”
According to local press reports, approval for the H145M purchase was given during a closed-door parliamentary meeting on June 20. Agreement was reached for the release of €53m as an advance payment, while the total cost, including weapons, will by €140m, to be paid in instalments through to 2026. The first six will be acquired over a five-year period. Once deliveries are complete, the Mi-35Ps would be transferred to Serbia.
The H145M is a multi-role light utility military helicopter. Derived from the civil H145, the latest version of the H145M features a new, innovative five-bladed rotor that increases the helicopter's payload by 150 kg. The design of the new bearingless main rotor also simplifies maintenance operations. Equipped with the Airbus HForce weapons system the H145M can be operated as a light attack helicopter. The weapons range includes guns, rockets and missiles are currently being integrated. Combined with Manned-Unmanned Teaming capabilities and integration into networked combat, its bandwidth makes it the most performant helicopter in its class.
The H145 was developed as a civil model for day and night operations and in the most adverse conditions. It is used by armed forces, police and rescue teams all over the world. It is powered by two powerful Safran Helicopter Engines Arriel 2E turbines, controlled by the FADEC (full authority digital engine control) system. In addition, the helicopter is equipped with the Helionix digital avionics suite and thus offers not only innovative flight data management but also a powerful 4-axis autopilot, which considerably reduces the pilots' workload in their missions. Its particularly low noise emissions make the H145 the quietest helicopter in its class. The H145M is already in service in Hungary (20), Germany (15), Serbia (9), Thailand (5) and Luxembourg (2). The US Army operates a fleet of more than 460 locally built civil helicopters of the H145 family under the designation UH-72 Lakota.