The Bo 105 is a light, twin-engine, multi-purpose utility helicopter developed by Bölkow of Stuttgart, Germany. Production began under Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB), which became a part of Eurocopter in 1991. Eurocopter continued to produce the Bo 105 until 1997. It was replaced in the product line by the EC 135.
The Bo 105A made its maiden flight on the 16th February 1967 at Ottobrunn in Germany with Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm's test pilot, Wilfried von Engelhardt, at the controls. The German Civil Aviation Authority certified the helicopter on 13th October 1970 and production for German civil and law enforcement organizations began shortly afterwards. Further safety certification by the FAA was granted in April 1972 with United States export orders following.
The Bo 105C was developed in 1972 and the German Ministry of Defence selected this model for its light observation helicopter program, purchasing 100 helicopters in 1977. A specialist anti-tank version armed with Euromissile HOT missiles and designated as the Bo 105PAH-1 was procured by the German Army around the same time, with a total of 212 eventually being delivered.
In 1976, the Bo 105CB was developed with more powerful Allison 250-C20B engines. This was further developed as the Bo 105CBS with the enlargement of the fuselage by 10 inches to meet American market demands for emergency medical service operations, with this version becoming known as the Bo 105 Twin Jet in the United States.
In 1984, the Bo 105LS was developed with the enlarged fuselage of the Bo 105CBS combined with more powerful Allison 250-C28C engines to increase the maximum take-off weight.
Production ended in 2001, due to the Bo 105 being superseded by the more modern Eurocopter EC 135, after 1,406 machines had been built.
The four-blade hingeless main rotor with composite blades ensures high maneuverability. A Bo 105CBS used for promotional purposes by Red Bull USA is fully aerobatic, performing loops, rolls, Immelmans and other maneuvers normally regarded as for fixed-wing aircraft only. All main systems (hydraulics, electric, fuel, lubrication) were designed to be fully redundant.
Being the first light twin-engined helicopter in commercial service, it gained widespread use over rural areas (police and EMS / medevac) as well as offshore.
The variants used by the German Army are the Bo 105P and Bo 105M.
- Bo 105A was the first production model primarily for civil use and equipped with two Allison 250-C18 turbine engines.
- Bo 105C developed in 1972 and equipped with two Allison 250-C20 turbines engines.
- Bo 105CB developed in 1976 and equipped with two Allison 250-C20B turbine engines.
- Bo 105CBS with the fuselage stretched by 10 inches for emergency medical service duties.
- Bo 105LS A1 developed in 1984 with stretched fuselage and two Allison 250-C28C turbine engines.
- Bo 105LS A3 developed in 1986 with maximum take-off weight increased to 2,600kg.
- Bo 105LS A3 "Superlifter" developed in 1995 with maximum mission weight increased to 2,850kg.
- Bo 105P with its army designation "PAH-1" and "PAH-1A1" for the upgraded version (PAH=Panzerabwehrhubschrauber; 'Tank-defence helicopter'), is an anti-tank helicopter armed with wire-guided HOT ATGMs (HOT2 for the upgraded A1 version). Most of them are being replaced with the new Eurocopter Tger multirole attack helicopter, some will still stay in service till the end of their life span. The outphased PAH's are going to be disarmed and downgraded to the VBH version.
- Bo 105M with its army designation "VBH" (Verbindungshubschrauber; 'connection chopper'), is a light transport and surveillance helicopter. They were outphased and replaced by disarmed and modified PAH1.
- NBO-105: Manufactured by IPTN under licence from MBB (now Eurocopter) since 1976; only rotors and transmission now supplied by Germany; originally NBO-105 CB, but stretched NBO-105 CBS available from 101st aircraft onwards.
- BO 105 Executaire: Boeing Vertol and Carson Helicopters manufactured a 24.5 cm stretched version of the Bo 105 under license as the Executaire in an attempt to break into the U.S. light helicopter market, but sales were dismal.
- Bo 105E-4 : 12 German Army Bo-105P upgraded and overhauled for a 10 million euro contract and donated to Albania first batch delivered in 2006, the helicopters have better performance and avionics. The conversion of other BO-105 helicopters from the German Armed Forces is also under consideration with a view to future sales.
Military variants include light transport, reconnaissance and antitank versions and were (and/or still are) used by:
- Papua New Guinea
- Sierra Leone
- South Korea
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- Canada: Coast Guard
- Greece: Greek Police
- Indonesia: Police & Forestry Dept
- Pelita Air Service
- Jordan: Jordanian Police
- Philippines: Integrated National Police, Coast Guard & National Police
- South Africa: Police Service
- Argentina: Buenos Aires State Police, Argentina: Federal Police & Government of Buenos Aires
Specifications (Bo 105)
- Crew: 1 or 2 pilots
- Capacity: 4
- Length: 11.86 m (38 ft 11.2 in)
- Rotor diameter: 9.84 m (32 ft 3.3 in)
- Height: 3.00 m (9 ft 10 in)
- Empty weight: 1,301 kg (2,868 lb)
- Useful load: 1,199 kg) (2,643.34 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 2,500 kg (5,511.55 lb)
- Powerplant: 2× Allison 250-C20B turboshaft engines, 298 kW (400 shp) each
- Maximum speed: 242 km/h (131 knots)
- Range: 564 km (304 nm)