Airbus Helicopters has rolled out the first H225M medium twin rotorcraft equipped with MBDA AM39 Exocet anti-shipping missile meant for Brazilian Navy under the H-XBR program.
The rolling out ceremony of the first of five H225M helicopters took place in Helibra’s Itajuba facility in Brazil on Tuesday, IHS Janes reported.
The head of the H-XBR programme for Airbus Helicopters, Didier Cormary, said that, with 50 H225M helicopters on order for the wider Brazilian armed forces, the Operacio MB configuration for the navy is not only the last major configuration to be developed for the Latin American country, but it is also the most potent. "This configuration has teeth," he said.
The Operacio MB configuration consists of two AM39 Block 2 Mod 2 Exocet missiles; a chin-mounted Telephonics APS-143 surface-search radar; missile approach warning sensors (MAWS); a nose-mounted FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE III electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret (as featured on other Brazilian variants); and a Tactical Console workstation in the main cabin, Cormary was quoted as saying by Janes.
"The [Operacio MB configuration] can launch one or two Exocets, and can fly asymmetrically with one missile on one side and the air-to-air refuelling probe on the other - this is quite a feat [for such a large weapon system as the 655 kg Exocet]," Cormary said.
While both Chile and Saudi Arabia have configured Super Puma helicopters to carry the Exocet, Cormary explained that this was done about 20 years ago and involved less advanced helicopters, systems, and technologies. Also, while the MB itself has previously fitted Exocets to its now-retired Sikorsky Sea King helicopters, these were older Block 1 Mod 1 missiles.
Work to develop the Operacio MB configuration began in 2013, when the purchase order was signed by the Brazilian government.