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French Navy receives final batch of H160 helicopters

By Defence Industry Europe

The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has successfully completed its delivery of the last of six H160 helicopters, initially ordered in 2020 and 2021 from Airbus Helicopters, Babcock France, and Safran Helicopter Engines. This final aircraft has been stationed at the Lanvéoc-Poulmic Naval Air Base.

 

Primarily tasked with maritime rescue alert missions (Secmar), the H160s are replacing the Caïman Marine, Dauphin, and Panther helicopters. This move allows these helicopters to return to their primary mission of air-sea combat on board the ships of the French Navy.

 

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The H160 helicopters, specially configured for sea rescue operations, have been progressively deployed since 2023 from Cherbourg Airport and the naval air bases of Lanvéoc-Poulmic and Hyères. Initial feedback following more than 1,500 hours of flight time and numerous rescue missions has been overwhelmingly positive. This feedback is also contributing to the development of the H160M “Guépard,” the military variant under the Light Joint Helicopter (HIL) Programme managed by the DGA, as showcased at the 2023 Le Bourget Air Show.

 

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Manufactured by Airbus Helicopters with additional mission adaptation by Babcock France, these H160s are notably equipped with a winch, the Euroflir 410 optoelectronic system by Safran Electronics & Defence, and modular cabins for an optimised layout tailored to state maritime missions. They are also certified for night vision goggle flights, particularly crucial for night missions.

 

 

Supported by Babcock France through a partnership with Airbus Helicopters and Safran Helicopter Engines, this collaboration ensures a high level of aircraft availability, essential for the sustainability of maritime rescue missions along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, as well as the English Channel.

 

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