July 2, 2022

Government orders € 10 billion contract from Airbus for 169 helicopters for the armed forces

The deliveries of these 169 H160M Guépard helicopters, intended for the armed forces, will begin in 2027, more than five years after this order.

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An XXL contract of 10 billion euros between the State and Airbus: the government formalized Wednesday, December 22 the order from the industrial group of 169 H160M Guépard helicopters intended for the armed forces. These devices “will be distributed between the Army (80), the French Navy (49) and the Air and Space Army (40)” for deliveries starting in 2027, as specified the Ministry of the Armed Forces in a press release. They will replace Gazelle, Alouette III, Dauphin, Panther and Fennec helicopters, some of which have been in service for over forty years.

Eleven additional devices were also ordered, including ten H160 for the national gendarmerie, an order “decided within the framework of the support plan for the aeronautics industry, for an amount of more than 200 million euros”. This contract had already been mentioned by the government. The eleventh is intended for the Directorate General of Armaments “to ensure flight tests for the development and qualification of equipment and future weapon systems”, according to the ministry.

Long awaited and provided for by the 2019-2025 military programming law, the order for 169 devices for the armed forces was initially to be placed in 2022. But the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, announced in 2019 that she had decided to do so. move forward one year.

The choice of the H160M, developed from the H160, a recent civilian aircraft from Airbus Helicopters, as the technical basis for the single platform of the Light Joint Helicopter (HIL) program, was already known since 2017. This order for 169 Cheetahs, “including the first 30 in firm phase, is part of a global market of ten billion euros” which includes, in addition to the development and delivery of devices, “the provision of the support and training system” and “the maintenance in operational condition for ten years”, according to the ministry.