In October, the Romanian government announced that it will acquire Airbus Helicopters H215 and H215m (for defence use) Super Puma transport helicopters from IAR S.A. Brașov, which partnered with Airbus to market Super Puma helicopters to Romania and prospective third-party export customers.
The Romanian Minister of National Defence Mihai Fifor announced that the H215 will be inducted within the Romanian Army as well as Romania’s Ministry of Interior. Romania’s objective is to see its armament suppliers not just sell equipment, but to partner with Romania’s domestic industry.
Airbus Helicopters is engaged in a 15-year partnership with Romania’s IAR S.A. Brasov, which will market and manufacture the H215 and H215m. During this period, Airbus anticipates that Romania could acquire up to 60 H215/H215m to supplant its legacy Puma and aging Super Puma helicopters.
Airbus Helicopters also projects a global market of up to 1,000 helicopters in the Super Puma’s size-class (nine-ton) over the next 15 years, of which the company is aiming to secure 20%.
Notes & Comments:
Romania’s Brasov plant had manufactured more than 360 helicopters, such as the IAR 330 Puma, for domestic and overseas markets. Airbus Helicopters transferred its H215/H215m Super Puma production line to Romania in an effort to produce an affordable platform to compete with the Russian Helicopters Mi-171, which enjoys considerable adoption in the developing world market due to attractive acquisition, maintenance and operating costs.
The H215m is powered by two Turbomeca MAKILA 1A1 turboshaft engines, with each providing an output of 1,877 shp and providing a range of 776 km. It has a maximum cruise speed of 258 km/h. Capable of ferrying up to 24 troops, the H215m can lift an external payload (by sling) of 4,500 kg. It can be deployed for tactical transport, logistics support, search-and-rescue, medical evacuation and C4ISR (command, control, communication, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance).
Airbus Helicopters also offers a heavier and more sophisticated variant – the H225m Caracal. Compared to the Super Puma, the Caracal uses two MAKILA 2A1 turboshaft engines with dual channel full-authority digital engine control (FADEC). It has an external payload of 4,750 kg and can ferry up to 28 troops.