The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) has confirmed an option to Airbus Helicopters, Babcock and Safran Helicopter Engines for two more H160s for the French Navy. These aircraft will join the fleet of four H160s already contracted in 2020, the first of which is currently being assembled by Airbus Helicopters in Marignane, in the south of France.
The six H160s will be delivered in a Ssearch and rescue (SAR) configuration and will gradually start operating from May 2022 from Lanveoc-Poulmic naval air station (Britany), Cherbourg airport (Normandy), and Hyères naval air station (Provence). Awaiting the H160M “Guépard” deliveries in the frame of the French Joint Light Helicopter (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger: HIL) program, these H160s will take over the SAR missions currently conducted by the NH90s and Panthers, allowing these combat helicopters to fulfill main tasks at sea on board combat vessels.
The French Navy’s operational feedback with these H160s will benefit the design of the military version of the aircraft and its associated support system.Email Post to a Friend