On 24 November, the Brazilian Navy announced on Twitter that it had received the first H225M helicopter in naval combat configuration, also known as the AH-15B Super Cougar, from Helibras (the only Brazilian helicopter manufacturer, a subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters). The helicopter was delivered as part of a $2.72 billion contract signed by the Brazilian government in 2008 for the delivery of 50 H225M helicopters to the country’s air, ground, and naval forces.
After being delivered to the Brazilian Navy, the helicopter will be deployed at the Sao Pedro d’Aldeia naval base, providing a significant increase in the navy’s defense and surveillance capacity in the Amazônia Azul (The Blue Amazon) region, while also enhancing the Brazilian Navy’s mission capabilities, including surface warfare and maritime surveillance.
Airbus Helicopters Latin America President Alberto Robles said in a statement that they are proud of this achievement, which demonstrates the industrial and technological capacity of Airbus Helicopter teams in France and Brazil to provide the Brazilian Armed Forces with one of the most modern solutions in the world. “Designed to meet the most stringent standards of the Brazilian Navy, the H225M utility helicopter’s advanced anti-surface warfare and tactical capabilities open up new mission options,” Robles added.
When compared to other H225M models, the anti-ship version of the H225M helicopter developed specifically for the Brazilian Navy by Helibras and Airbus Helicopters is noted as the most difficult to develop and manufacture. Among the helicopter’s advanced embedded systems are the EWS IDAS-3 (countermeasure system), the ability to launch Exocet AM39 B2M2 missiles, the APS143 tactical radar, and the naval mission system (N-TDMS).
According to the information provided by Airbus Helicopters, the H225M is a genuine multi-purpose and versatile military asset that can be deployed wherever and whenever required. The helicopter can reportedly operate in all weather conditions and from both ships and land, even in freezing conditions, and is night vision compatible.
The helicopter is powered by two Turboméca MAKILA 2A1 turboshaft engines with 2,100 shaft horsepower each with sand and dust filters in the air intakes for landing in difficult terrain. The H225M can carry up to 28 soldiers and two pilots. The helicopter has a maximum take-off weight of 11,200kg, a cruise speed of 141 kilometers per hour, and a range of 909 kilometers. It is also equipped with a belly hook to transport external loads of up to 4,750 kg.
The H225M has proven itself in the field with a reported total of 143,000+ flying hours. The aircraft are in service in France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Kuwait, and Thailand.
Brazil has become a regional military and economic power in South America over the last decade, with the region’s largest defense budget, the world’s eleventh defense expenditure, and nearly 60 percent of South American GDP in 2017. In addition to the H225M, three H135 helicopters for the Brazilian Antarctic Program (PROANTAR) will be delivered to Brazil under a contract signed with Airbus in 2019.