Following this spate of deliveries, the H145M is coming into its own in 2020, generating positive reviews. Hungarian Defence Forces pilots have flown some 200 hours of conversion training in the new aircraft, whose digital, computer-managed cockpit creates a modern and efficient environment. “Operating an H145M is much easier than operating the models having been in service in Hungary so far, because it is fully digital, and computer-controlled,” said Lieutenant-colonel Zsolt Simon, Chief of Flight Training Department and acting deputy commander of the HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base.
They also noted a different, more digital approach to the H145M’s maintenance, commenting on a time savings when inspecting the aircraft and prepping it for flights. “It is much easier and more modern to operate these helicopters than the old ones. Even the physical job takes much shorter time when, for example, the helicopters need to be prepared, detected for defaults or when following an error process,” said Maj. Tamás Bagi, commander of the H145M maintenance squadron.
The helicopter’s mission capabilities have also suggested possibilities for armament, as in Serbia, where domestically-produced weapons are being integrated on the country’s H145Ms, together with the Airbus HForce targeting and mission management system. Field trials of unguided S8 80mm rockets were reported in December in northern Serbia, ahead of the completion of the fleet’s armament, and the air force’s H145Ms were slated to be equipped with a 12.7mm podded machine gun.
Further, the German Bundeswehr’s training of Nigerian special forces soldiers in the Sahel region of the Sahara, which has taken place since 2020, marked the first time the Bundeswehr used the new H145M LUH SOF (Special Operations Forces) version to train Nigerian paratroopers, a demonstration of its rapidly expanding portfolio of missions.