Airbus Helicopters unveiled its first U.S.-built H125 military helicopter, to be manufactured at the Airbus Helicopters Inc. plant in Columbus, Miss. Designated as the AH-125 and MH-125 helicopters, they will be outfitted with options for combat and “parapublic” functions with the U.S. military branches and allied nations defense forces.
The H125 is an established family of aircraft that holds an 80% share of the global single-engine helicopter market, according to Airbus. The OEM claimed that the addition of a flexible weapons capability will make it simple to re-configure a helicopter in less than 30 minutes for missions like light attack, air assault, search and rescue, casualty evacuation, and disaster response.
The AH-125 Ares will be configured as the armed variant of the helicopter, with U.S.-based MAG Aerospace contracted to manage weapons installation design, engineering, certification and manufacturing. The military version of the helicopter will have various weapons options, including a .50-caliber (12.7 mm) gun and unguided rockets, and precision-guided weapons. The installation will allow for doors-on flight throughout the mission.
According to Airbus, the addition of a flexible weapons capability will make it simple to re-configure the aircraft in less than 30 minutes, for missions like light attack, air assault, search and rescue, casualty evacuation, and disaster response.
The MH-125 Ares will be configured as a multi-role helicopter capable of light-enforcement operations, such as those conducted by law enforcement and government agencies. Currently more than 100 H125 helicopters are being used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“The AH-125 and MH-125 Ares helicopters will offer the capability, reliability, and flexibility needed by America’s allies and partners as they perform an array of rotary wing missions, ranging from light attack to disaster response and other parapublic missions,” stated Airbus U.S. Space and Defense vice president Scott Tumpak.