New Helicopter for Search and Rescue Units
(Source: German Army; issued Dec. 04, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
After almost 50 years of service using the Bell UH-1D single-engined helicopter for its search and rescue units, Germany’s Bundeswehr has taken delivery of its successor, the twin-engined Airbus H145M SAR of which it has ordered seven units. (Airbus photo)
DONAUWÖRTH, Germany --- For almost 50 years, the light multi-purpose Bell UH-1D helicopter has been the reliable aircraft of the Bundeswehr’s search and rescue units. Now, its successor is already in the starting blocks. On December 10, the light support helicopter from Airbus, H145, will be handed over to the German Armed Forces in Donauwörth. But what can the new helicopter do?

"The Bell is a very robust and reliable workhorse that has never failed me at home or abroad. However, newer, more modern technology makes it necessary for us to switch to a state-of-the-art system," says up Captain Sebastian Näther, helicopter commanding officer of the Fast Craft Division. Näther, a pilot since 1998 in the German Armed Forces, is currently being trained with other comrades on the new helicopter and brings with him over 2,800 flight hours. The military search and rescue service, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in Münster on December 5, is already eagerly awaiting the new helicopter.

Technical quantum leap

The new machine for the search and rescue (SAR) forces is designated LUH SAR, light support helicopter. It is based on one of the Bundeswehr's most modern helicopters, the Airbus H145. The LUH SAR represents a technological quantum leap for the military SAR service, in terms of aeronautical, medical and flight support capabilities.

This new helicopter, with its two 600 hp turbine engines, has enough power to reach the maximum takeoff weight of 3,800 kilograms while coping with all conditions. As a result, the LUH is able to transport external loads of up to 1,600 kilograms and fire extinguishers of approximately 800 liters capacity.

If there is ever a problem with one of the two engines, the LUH SAR can fly without any problems with the remaining engine. Furthermore, the crew can rely on the assistance of an autopilot to complete their mission and training flights by day and night.

In addition to the medical equipment, the LUH SAR has three GPS and five radios, a TV and thermal imaging camera, a high-performance searchlight and various other reconnaissance and tracking sensors.

It also has several radio bearings for tracking all military and civilian emergency radios, but also for locating mobile phones. The crews are able to communicate with the military, governmental and civilian stations by radio.

The SAR control center Münster will be technically able to communicate directly with the SAR command centers as well as with the helicopters, and to be able to send and receive mission data almost without delay.

The new helicopter is also equipped with its own communication server, with which the crew is always available for all missions.

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Airbus Delivers First H145 for the German Armed Forces’ Search and Rescue Service Ahead of Schedule
(Source: Airbus Helicopters; issued Dec. 10, 2019)
DONAUWÖRTH, Germany --- Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first H145 for the German Armed Forces’ (Bundeswehr) search and rescue service to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), several months before the agreed deadline. A total of seven helicopters of this type were ordered to renew their ageing Bell UH-1D search and rescue fleet.

“We are delighted to be able to deliver this helicopter not only on time, but in this case even before the contractually agreed deadline,” said Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Deutschland. “The H145 helicopters already operated by the Bundeswehr have proven themselves, in particular, through their very high levels of operational availability. We see a lot more possibilities for the flexible and reliable aircraft to perform a wide range of tasks in all branches of the armed forces.”

The Bundeswehr is also responsible for search and rescue operations (SAR) in the event of aircraft accidents on German territory. It therefore maintains a fleet of search and rescue helicopters on permanent standby, and these helicopters are also available for use in national disaster management operations.

The Bell UH-1D model currently in use by the Bundeswehr first entered into service in the early 1970s. The new aircraft will be stationed at the sites in Niederstetten, Holzdorf and Nörvenich. The last of the H145 LUH SAR (Light Utility Helicopter Search and Rescue) helicopters will be delivered early 2021, once training has been completed. Airbus Helicopters will also be responsible for logistics support, repair, and maintenance of the helicopters.

Among other features, the helicopters are equipped with high-performance cameras, searchlights, emergency beacon locator systems, a full suite of medical equipment, rescue winches and load hooks that can be used for fire-extinguishing tanks, for example. They are easy to identify thanks to the characteristic bright orange paintwork on their doors, featuring ‘SAR’ in blue lettering.


Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2018 it generated revenues of € 64 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

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