Home Europe UK orders five H135s to replace British Army Gazelles

UK orders five H135s to replace British Army Gazelles

Aerospatiale Gazelle British Army
British Army file photo

The UK defense ministry has awarded Airbus Helicopters a contract to deliver an additional five H135 helicopters for the British Army.

The UK defense ministry already operates 29 of the H135 Juno helicopters at the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) at RAF Shawbury where all rotary-wing pilots for the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy are trained under the Military Flying Training System.

In addition to the Junos, DHFS also operates seven Airbus H145 Jupiter helicopters.

While Airbus did not specify, the latest order is understood to be intended as a replacement for the Gazelle helicopters in service with the British Army. First produced in 1968, the Gazelle are expected to remain in service by 2024, well past their 50-year-anniversary of operations, when they are expected to be replaced by the H135 in the surveillance role.

The twin-engine H135s have been delivered and are in service in more than 60 countries, with over 300 operators, according to Airbus data. The first entered UK service in May 2017 and first was used by students at the tri-service DHFS at RAF Shawbury in 2018.

The helicopter has a top speed of 136 knots and a range of up to 342 nautical miles. It has a maximum take-off weight of 2,980kg.