France has selected the Airbus Helicopters H160 as the basis for its tri-service light rotorcraft replacement program to replace six helicopter types with the French military: Panther, Dauphin & Alouette III in French Navy (Marine Nationale) service, Fennec in French Air Force and Army service, and Gazelle in French Army service.
That was reported by journal-aviation.com.
Speaking during a visit to the manufacturer’s Marignane facility in the south of the country, French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that deliveries under the hélicoptère interarmées léger (HIL) effort would start in around 2024.
Le Drian says that between 160 and 190 aircraft would be required under HIL, which seeks to replace a number of ageing types across all three French services.
The H160 opens a new chapter in the history of Airbus Helicopters. Joining the product range between the H145 (formerly EC145) and the H175 (formerly EC175), this innovative medium helicopter becomes the first new member of the H generation.
The H160 is a 6 tons class helicopter capable of speeds of 160 knots. It can carry 12 passengers at distances of up to 120 nautical miles.