France French Navy takes delivery of first H-160 helicopter For Search and Rescue missions

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The French Navy has taken delivery of the first of six H-160 helicopters that will perform Search and Rescue (SAR) missions. The aircraft is part of the interim fleet that will be delivered by the partnership formed between Airbus Helicopters, Babcock, and Safran Helicopter Engines.
In 2020 the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) signed a contract with thre three industries for the delivery of four units in a SAR configuration. In 2021, the DGA confirmed an option for two more aircraft. The first H-160 for the French Navy was delivered to Babcock by Airbus Helicopters in May 2022. It has since then been modified into a light military configuration by Babcock. The modular cabin was also adapted for SAR operations and a Safran Euroflir 410 electro optical system was integrated.

The H-160 will gradually start operating from the Lanveoc-Poulmic naval air station (Brittany), Cherbourg airport (Normandy), and the naval air station in Hyères (Provence). The interim fleet of H-160s will ensure critical search and rescue missions while awaiting the delivery of the H-160M "Guépard". In the frame of the French Joint Light Helicopter (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger: HIL) programme, 169 "Guépards" are foreseen to replace five types of helicopters in service with the French armed forces. The French Navy’s operational feedback with these H-160s will benefit the design of the military version of the aircraft and its associated support system.

Babcock, in partnership with the industries, will ensure the highest level of availability for the French Navy and the continuity of SAR operations on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean coasts. Built by Airbus Helicopters, the model is certified for the use of Night Vision Goggles, which are necessary for winching operations at night.

The H-160, as a next generation medium twin engine aircraft, powered by Arrano engines, is modular by design in order to address various missions (off-shore transportation, private and business aviation, emergency medical and public services).

The technical data sheet of the model is attached to this AVIONEWS.

 

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