The Bavarian Police in Germany has received the first upgraded H135s, which are benefitting from a retrofit package that significantly improves the operating performance and the handling qualities – all while retaining the best-in-class payload lift capabilities of this lightweight twin-engine rotorcraft.
The retrofit program is designed to bring previously-built models of the EC135 to the performance and safety standards of Airbus Helicopters’ newest version, the H135, as it is currently showcased at the Paris Airshow.
During the past weeks the upgraded helicopters have been deployed on a variety of missions in the police fleet’s range of tasks. On the occasion of the recent G7 summit in Bavaria, the retrofitted machines proved their advantages in performance and handling. The resulting gain in safety was especially evident during flights at night and in the difficult, mountainous terrain.
Three of the law enforcement agency’s eight helicopters have completed the process and are already in service today, with the remaining five to be converted and delivered during the upcoming months. The retrofits are being applied at Airbus Helicopters’ production facility in Donauwörth, Germany, which is home to the H135 production line.
“Providing retrofits for the H135 corresponds to our company’s guidelines of quality and safety, as it offers our customers an economical solution to increase the capabilities of their machines,” explained Axel Humpert, Head of the H135 program at Airbus Helicopters. “Besides the considerable improvements in performance and handling, the latest H135 continues to lead the market of its class in payload and low operative costs.”
Included in the retrofit package is an enlarged main rotor with improved blade profiles, the transfer of front-mounted engine air intakes to a lateral position, augmented engine capacities and an extension of the horizontal stabilizer’s span and removal of its endplates, while the tail skid is replaced with a mini bumper.
“In addition to the improved handling and yaw control, the upgrade also effects a lower noise footprint – resulting from the increased rotor diameter,” Humpert added. The helicopter’s higher power margins, its one-engine-out performance and expanded flight envelope will be appreciated by all customers – particularly those who perform mountain rescue and missions in hot temperatures, extreme weather or at night.