Kuwait's first H225M begins flight testing

The first Airbus H225Ms destined to see operational service with Kuwait have started flight testing.

The country ordered 30 examples of the long-range multi-role tactical transport helicopters in August 2016 for use with the Kuwait Air Force (KAF) and the Kuwait National Guard. 

Airbus H225 - Kuwait [Airbus]
One of the first H225Ms which will be delivered to the KAF/ Kuwait National Guard. Airbus

The delivery schedule has seemingly slipped since the contract was signed in 2016. Initial deliveries of the H225Ms to Kuwait were expected to begin in January this year, just 29 months after the order was placed, with the last helicopter due to be delivered after 48 months, in August 2021. The first aircraft for Kuwait was seen in production during 2018, with the first completed pre-delivery aircraft first noted this August.

As of October 2019, there were 95 H225Ms in operational service around the world, serving operators from Brazil, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Thailand. Recent orders from Singapore and Hungary, alongside Kuwait, are expected to boost operational H225M numbers to roughly 140. 

H225Ms in KAF service will operate in roles such as search and rescue (SAR), tactical transport and ground support. As reported in the October 2017 issue of AFM, the KAF's H225Ms are to be fitted with machine guns, while a contract to arm them with anti-ship missiles may be negotiated at a later date. To read more of Alan Warnes' Middle East Modernisation story, follow this link.