Hungary has ordered 20 H145M military helicopters as part of its armed forces modernization program, Airbus said in a release.
The helicopters are equipped with the company’s HForce weapons management system, which will allow Hungary “to equip and operate their aircraft with a large set of ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons,” Airbus said in the Friday, June 29 release.
The qualification of HForce for use on the H145M is planned for this year.
The H145M is a twin-engine light utility helicopter that can be used for troop transport, surveillance, armed reconnaissance, medical evacuation and air rescue. It can carry up to nine passengers and two crew. The helicopters ordered by Hungary will include a fast roping system, fire support equipment, ballistic protection and an electronic countermeasures system.
In addition, the helicopter is equipped with the Helionix digital avionics suite which includes a high-performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload, Airbus said.
The company will also provide a training and support package.
The H145M was first delivered to the German Armed Forces in 2015 and is on order from both Thailand and Serbia. The U.S. Army operates its UH-72A Lakota version.
The Hungarian Ministry of Defence made the order as part of the Zrinyi 2026 military modernization program. Last year it ordered acquired two A319 military troop transporters from Airbus.
Zrinyi 2026 is Hungary’s armed forces development scheme, announced last year. The government decided to raise the annual defense budget to 2 percent of GDP by 2024. As part of the program, the defense ministry will purchase 40 helicopters and increase its military reserves to 20,000 personnel by 2026. The air force’s Gripen fighter jets are also due to be upgraded.
Hungarian Defense Forces chief of staff Tibor Benko said in January that Hungary is not obligated to buy military equipment exclusively from NATO member states, and that 12 of its Russian-made Mi-24 helicopters are currently undergoing modernization in Russia.