First Deliveries Before 2024 Paris Olympics
France’s Gendarmerie Nationale has ordered 10 H160 helicopters in a law enforcement (LE) configuration, becoming the first LE customer for the type, Airbus Helicopters announced on 10 January. Part of the government’s ‘Stimulus’ programme to support the national aeronautics industry, the order is closely linked to the recently-confirmed order for 169 H160Ms for the armed forces.
“The French Ministry of Interior contract is an important milestone for the H160. We now have customers for the offshore transportation, private and business aviation, search and rescue and law enforcement mission segments, showing that the H160 is a truly versatile aircraft,” commented Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “Developing this new configuration for the H160 in cooperation with an experienced customer like the Gendarmerie Nationale is key to the success of the programme.”
The Gendarmerie’s H160s will be equipped with a Safran Euroflir 410 electro-optical system, winching, and fast-roping capabilities. The air force command centre of the Gendarmerie Nationale and Airbus Helicopters are also working closely together to develop a tailored mission management system. The Gendarmerie already operates a significant fleet of Airbus helicopters from the H125, H135 and H145 families. On top of its improved performances and advanced mission systems, the H160 will bring a new troop transport capability for the French Ministry of Interior’s security forces, mainly tactical units, such as the Gendarmerie Nationale’s intervention group (GIGN). The first H160s will be delivered before the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.
The first of a new generation of helicopter, the EASA-certified H160 benefits from a low cost of operations and optimised flight safety. With its light maintenance plan aligned between engine and aircraft, the H160 optimises operating costs and offers a new standard in availability. The Gendarmerie’s H160s will benefit from a global support contract to be managed by Airbus Helicopters, including technical support, spare parts stocks on four Gendarmerie bases, and connected services.