The new helicopter will be deployed for search and rescue (SAR) operations.
The helicopter will gradually operate from France’s Lanveoc-Poulmic air base in Brittany, Cherbourg airport in Normandy and the naval air base in Hyères, Provence.
Three companies were selected The French Directorate General of Armaments (Direction générale de l’armement – DGA) will deliver four H160 helicopters in SAR configuration in February 2020.
A year later, DGA used an additional contract to purchase two more aircraft.
Babcock received the first H160 from Airbus in May this year to upgrade the original aircraft to a light military configuration as required by the French Navy.
Modifications included equipping a modular cockpit suitable for SAR operations and integration Safran Euroflir 410 electro-optical system.
Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Navat said: “The delivery of the first H160 to a military customer is an important milestone for the H160 program.
“This is the first public version of the H160 to be shipped worldwide.
“With this H160, we will strengthen our partnership with the French Navy by delivering the right helicopter for its critical SAR missions.”
According to Airbus, the H160 fleet will support the French Navy’s SAR mission requirements for the delivery of 169 H160M Guépards as part of the French Joint Light Helicopter Program.
The H160M is expected to replace five different types of helicopters operated by the French armed forces.
https://www.naval-technology.com/news/french-navy-first-h160-helicopter/ The French Navy took delivery of the first H160 helicopter