Airbus Helicopters confirmed on March 29 that it has handed over its first H225M medium-lift tactical transport helicopter to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).
This delivery comes as part of a contract for a number of H225Ms, which was announced by the manufacturer on November 8, 2016. The H225Ms are being sought by Singapore to replace the air force’s fleet of Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) AS332M1 Super Pumas.
While the number of examples involved in the deal has never been officially announced, it is believed to be 16 – based on Airbus’ sales figures for 2016, which were released by the company on January 27, 2017. This showed 16 unaccounted for H225M orders, which would equate to about the right number to replace the RSAF’s 18-strong fleet of Super Pumas. However, earlier reports did suggest that just 12 H225Ms were likely to be acquired.
The first delivery had previously been planned to take place at the end of 2020, but disruptions in the supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant that this date had to be put back. Bruno Even, the CEO of Airbus Helicopters, congratulated Singapore on receiving its first H225M. He said: “Airbus is very happy to celebrate this important milestone with the RSAF. This delivery is exceptionally significant as Airbus and the RSAF overcame the COVID-19 pandemic challenges in 2020 to achieve a smooth handover of the helicopter.
“The RSAF has been a long-term partner of Airbus since its first Aérospatiale SA316B Alouette III entered into service more than 50 years ago. We appreciate the trust Singapore has placed in our helicopters, and we look forward to the H225Ms playing a critical role in the RSAF for many years to come,” Even added.
Singapore’s fleet of H225Ms is expected to assume a wide range of roles, including search and rescue (SAR), aeromedical evacuation, as well as humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) operations. Initially, the RSAF will be conducting flight tests and training on the H225Ms. Once operational, they will progressively replace the air arm’s Super Pumas, which first entered service in 1983.