Cyprus Purchases Six H145M Type Combat Helicopters From France

The Republic of Cyprus is still working to replace Soviet-era armaments with military equipment that is compatible with other member states of the European Union. In this regard, the Cypriot government announced on Friday, June 24, that it had signed a contract with the French firm Airbus Helicopters to purchase six combat helicopters of the H145M type. The company published a statement in which it indicated that the agreement contains an option to purchase an additional six helicopters, but it made no mention of the acquisition’s financial aspect. The Cyprus government will, however, pay out a total of 140 million euros for the helicopters, according to news reports in the Greek Cypriot press.

Andreas Louca, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defense, and Olivier Michalon, vice president of Airbus Helicopters, signed the deal for the procurement of new light attack helicopters during the ILA Airshow in Berlin. Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Cyprus, Charalambos Petrides, emphasized the importance of the agreement for Cyprus’ defense and how it deepens diplomatic ties with France.

Cyprus Defense Minister Haralambos Petridis speaks at the signing ceremony of the contract for the purchase of new light attack helicopters / Cyprus Ministry of Defense

The Minister further added that with the purchase of new Airbus attack helicopters they will, “also strengthen the existing framework of our international and regional partnerships, build interoperability with other states in the region, participate in multinational exercises and activities and contribute positively to the security and stability of the region,”

Mi-35P helicopter on display at Lakatamia Airbase in 2006 alongside among other helicopters including Gazzelle and Bell 412. / Savvas Petoussis

The fleet of 11 Mi-35P attack helicopters currently owned by the army will be replaced by these new helicopters, which will be operated by the Cyprus National Guard. According to rumors, Serbia will also purchase the Mi-35P helicopters that Cyprus acquired 20 years ago, after the new French helicopters arrive on the island. Additionally, during their recent conversations with Cyprus representatives, US officials requested that Ukraine receive the Russian-made weapons that were in Cyprus’ arsenal. In this circumstance, it is possible that these helicopters, which do not satisfy Cyprus’ operational needs, could be shipped to Ukraine.

A H145M helicopter with Serbian insignia / Alex milt (CC BY-SA 4.0)  

The H-145M is a leading, highly successful helicopter in its class of light attack helicopters that Airbus developed based on the Civil Eurocopter EC145. Wide-ranging applications for H-145Ms include maritime patrol, light attack, transport, and reconnaissance. These helicopters are capable of operating day or night in any weather conditions and can be equipped with 12.7mm machine guns, 70mm guided and unguided rockets, anti-tank missiles, and short-range air-to-air missiles. The helicopter can carry a useful load of 1,769kg and can take off with a maximum weight of 3.7 tons. The H-145M has a range of 662km and a top speed of 244km/h thanks to its two powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines. The helicopter can reach a flight altitude of over 2,700m (8,858 ft) and remain airborne for three and a half hours.

German army H145M with tail number 74+14 in flight, in background one Eurocopter Tiger and one Ch-53, Fassberg 2019 / Image Author: Boevaya mashina / Copyright: (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Hungary (20), Germany (15), Serbia (9), Thailand (5), and Luxembourg (2) are among the countries that have the H145M in service already. The US Army also has a fleet of more than 460 locally manufactured civil H145 helicopters, known as UH-72 Lakotas.