By Helicopters Staff
At a ceremony for the delivery of Serbia’s first H145M helicopter, Airbus announced the country will become a maintenance hub for SA 341/SA 342 Gazelle helicopters.
”Both events underline the fact that Serbia and Airbus have entered into a close partnership,” said Bruno Even, CEO, Airbus Helicopters at the Partner Defence Exhibition in Belgrade.
The Moma Stanojlovic aeronautical plant, located near Belgrade, has been certified by Airbus Helicopters to carry out maintenance work on the Gazelle. Airbus explains more than 160 Gazelle SA 341/SA 342 were produced under license by the Soko plant in Mostar from 1971 to 1991 and these helicopters are still operated in Serbia and its neighboring countries.
Altogether, Serbia will receive nine H145Ms, earmarked for the Air Force and for the Ministry of Interior. Airbus explains the Serbian aircraft are equipped with a fast-roping system, high-performance camera, fire-support equipment, ballistic protection, as well as an electronic countermeasures system. The HForce system, developed by Airbus Helicopters, will allow Serbia to equip and operate its aircraft with a large set of ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons.
The H145M is a light twin-engine helicopter that has also been ordered by Germany, Thailand, Hungary and Luxemburg. Airbus states the mission readiness of the H145Ms already in service is above 95 per cent.
Beyond the nine H145M helicopters, Serbia has also ordered three H215 heavy helicopters for the Ministry of Interior. Air Serbia operates 10 A320 family aircraft and one A330 that is currently performing the first direct flights to the United States since the 1980s from the territory of former Yugoslavia.