The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) has taken delivery of the first two of its 12 H135M helicopters ordered from Airbus Helicopters. The helicopters arrived in Meknes, Morocco on September 7, 2023, after a brief stopover in Almeria, Spain, and Tangier.
The H135Ms will replace the RMAF Helicopter Flight School’s AgustaBell AB206A and AB206B rotorcraft in use at 1 Air Base at Rabat/Salé. The new helicopters will be used to train pilots for a wide array of missions, including utility and search and rescue operations.
Under the contract with Airbus, which was announced in July 2022, Morocco will receive a comprehensive support package, including the delivery of Flight Training Devices and the training of instructor pilots and maintenance pilots. The training programme will enable Morocco to take full advantage of the H135’s multi mission capabilities such as NVG and winching, Airbus Helicopters said.
Morocco already flies Airbus Helicopters, in January 2020 the country’s Gendarmerie took delivery of two H125 helicopters, joining its fleet of nearly three dozen aircraft.
The H135M is a twin-engine light utility helicopter that is known for its endurance, compactness, low noise emissions, reliability, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. It has a maximum take-off weight of 2,980 kg, a maximum payload of 1,360 kg, a top speed of 259 km/h, a range of 633 km with standard fuel and at normal MTOW, and an endurance of 3 hours and 35 minutes.
The acquisition of the H135Ms is part of Morocco’s efforts to modernize its military helicopter fleet. The country is also set to receive 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from Boeing in 2024.
The acquisition of new helicopters and Morocco’s ongoing commitment to enhancing its aviation capabilities reflect the nation’s dedication to bolstering its defence infrastructure and maintaining a modern and versatile military force.
The delivery of the H135Ms to the RMAF is a significant development for Morocco’s military training capabilities. The new helicopters will provide pilots with the opportunity to train on a modern and capable platform, which will help to prepare them for the challenges of real-world operations.
With Morocco’s recent acquisition, the H135 helicopter, previously known as the EC135, is now operated by 12 military entities worldwide. These helicopters have collectively accumulated over 400 000 military flight training hours (Some 1 400 H135 helicopters are operated by more than 300 commercial and private operators in 65 countries. The fleet has accumulated more than 6.5 million flight hours.)