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French Navy to operate additional H160s
Airbus Helicopters — working with Babcock and Safran Helicopter Engines — is to provide the French Navy with two more twin-engine H160 search and rescue (SAR) helicopters.
The DGA previously ordered four H160 helicopters for the French Navy to be used in SAR missions. The first of these is currently being assembled by Airbus Helicopters, the company announced on 20 May.
Operations with the H160s will begin in May 2022 to replace NH90 and Panther helicopters in the SAR role.
Each of the six H160s will be equipped with a winch and a modular cabin that can be optimised for each mission. The H160s will be certified for use of night vision goggles which are necessary for winching operations at night, Airbus Helicopters added. Babcock will modify the helicopters to meet French Navy requirements and the company will integrate the Euroflir 410 EO system from Safran Electronics & Defense.
Euroflir 410 features standard interfaces, enabling it to be integrated with other mission systems and to communicate with onboard systems directly from the cockpit or a control station.
Shephard Defence Insight notes that France is also buying 169 H160M helicopters (80 for the army, 49 for the navy and 40 for the air force) under the Joint Light Helicopter (HIL) programme with initial deliveries scheduled for 2026.
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