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MBB Bölkow BO.105
RNethAF B-67 4L-QOR
Eurocopter EC135
Heer 82+64 D-HCDL
87+26 MBB Bo.105P1M c/n 6126 - German Army HFWS - Fliegerhorst Celle in Germany - 24 May 2016 Marine' Super Sea Lynx '83+20'

The MBB Bo.105P is the Antitank variant for military usage of the five-seat lightweight, general-purpose helicopter MBB Bo.105 helicopter. The Bo.105P has a roof-mounted direct-view, daylight-only sight to allow firing of HOT ATGMs. Options exist to fit a thermal imaging system for night operations, and a laser designator. Development of the Bo.105 started back in 1959 when Bölkow designed the Bo.103 helicopter. The Bo.103 single-seat flew first on 14 September 1961. The two-seat Bo.104 followed this study-project. Due to marketing reasons this project was stopped in favour of the five-seat Bo.105. Design work for the Bo.105 began in July 1962. Construction of the first of three prototypes began in 1964. The first Bo.105 prototype D-HAKO s/n V-1 was destroyed in ground tests and written off in October 1966. The second machine, D-HECA s/n V-2, was powered by two 317shp Allison 250C18 turboshafts and on 16 February 1967, the BO105 took off for its maiden flight in Ottobrunn (near Munich), Germany. On 14 May 1969, Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm GmbH (MBB) was formed and development of the Bo.105 continued with the first production BO-105A, D-HABV s/n S-1, flying on 11 April 1970. The breakthrough came in 1974 when the West German Government ordered the Bo.105 M as a connection and observation helicopter for the Federal West German Army (Heeresflieger). The BO.105 M version, had a strengthened transmission gearing, reinforced rotor components, a tail rotor with improved thrust and performance, a rupture-proof fuel system and a landing gear able to absorb higher energy levels. Deliveries of 100 MBB Bo.105M, also known as VBH (Verbindungshubschrauber), observation/liaison helicopters for the West German Army began in 1979 and were completed in 1984. In 1975, development of a specialist anti-tank version armed with up to six Euromissile HOT missiles, designated as the Bo 105 PAH-1 (PAH=Panzerabwehrhubschrauber), started. The Federal German government gave its approval for the procurement of 212 PAH-1s for the Federal German Army. Deliveries began on 4 December 1980 and were completed in mid-1984. In late 1987, the West German Ministry of Defense awarded MBB a contract for a mid-life improvement program for the West German Army's PAH-1 anti-tank helicopters. This effort, an interim measure until the introduction of the Eurocopter PAH-2 "Tiger" in the late 1990s, was completed in 1994. Further planned modifications have been cancelled.

In January 1992, the MBB Bo 105 became part of the large helicopters types row of Eurocopter when the helicopter divisions of MBB from Germany and Aerospatiale from France merged to form the Eurocopter Group. As a result of the merger between the Eurocopter parents Aérospatiale-Matra; DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) and Construcciones Aeronàuticas Sociedad Anonima (CASA) in July 2000, the Eurocopter group became a division of the new formed EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space company). Taking off into 2014, EADS was rebranded as "Airbus Group". Uniting all its activities under a single brand, its helicopter division Eurocopter was rebranded as Airbus Helicopters on 8 January 2014.

MBB Bo.105PAH-1 s/n 6126 entered service as 87+26 with the Federal West German Army HFR 16 (Heeresfliegerregiment 16) at Fliegerhorst Celle on 29 November 1982. Following the German reunification on 3 October 1990, the Federal West German Army was partially integrated into the Federal German Army; MBB Bo.105P1 87+26 remained in service with HFR 16 at Fliegerhorst Celle. In 2004, MBB Bo.105PAH-1 87+26 was transferred to HFlgUstgStff 1 (Heeresfliegerunterstützungsstaffel 1) at Celle. In 2012, the 87+26 was transferred to KHR 26 (Kampfhubschrauberregiment 26) at Roth. In 2013, the MBB BO.105PAH-1 86+45 was disarmed and downgraded to the MBB BO.105P1M standard before the helicopter returned to Celle. On 24 May 2016, MBB BO.105P1M 87+26 was seen in the rain at Fliegerhorst Celle nearby the end off an era with the MBB BO.105 helicopters being withdrawn from use by the German Army and the closing of Fliegerhorst Celle as an operational base within weeks.

page last updated: 29-05-2016
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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