Last week, personnel of the 98th Air Brigade of the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence (Ратно ваздухопловство и противваздухопловна одбрана Војске Србије) performed a series of scheduled training flights. They were executed with Airbus H145M helicopters in the vicinity of Niš, southern Serbia.
History of the Serbian H145M had begun in December of 2016, when nine rotorcraft of that type were ordered – six for the Serbian Air Force (including four equipped with the HForce weapon system) and three for the country´s police forces. Later, the abovementioned order specification was changed to four helicopters for the police and five for the air force, with three equipped with the HForce system.
Airbus introduced the HForce system into operational service at the end of 2017. It allows the rotorcraft to use a weapon attached to external hardpoints – with optional use of machine gun, automatic cannon and/or rocket pods. Additionally, it includes an electro-optical targeting system with helmet mounted display.
Three years ago, on 7th December 2019, Serbia had officially introduced its new helicopter fleet, including four Mi-35 attack helicopters, three Mi-17 multipurpose helicopters and the first H145M. The solemn ceremony took place at Colonel-Pilot Milenko Pavlović air base in Batajnica, with participation of the highest Serbian political and military authorities (our report from the event can be found here).
Within the Serbian Air Force, the newly acquired rotorcraft were assigned to the 119th Mixed Helicopter Squadron ´Zmajevi´ (the Dragons), being a part of the 98th Air Brigade located in Niš. Apart from the combat duties, the Serbian H145M helicopters are also used for a variety of search and rescue type of operations.
That aforementioned live-fly exercise of the H145M crews, organized in the first decade of December, included mastering techniques and procedures applied for out-of-airfield operations, as well as take-offs from unsecured terrain. In addition, low flying trainings were executed, including reconnaissance and surveillance duties performed in bad visibility conditions and severe weather.
Cover photo: H145M of the Serbian Air Force during December training flights in Niš area. All photos © Министарство одбране Републике Србије / MoD Republic of Serbia. MoD press releases were used.