Airbus has announced a contract for 169 light combined helicopters (HIL).

– The emblematic program of increasing the capacity of armies, allowed by the law on military programming for 2019-2025, HIL program aims to replace five types of helicopters involved in combat, reconnaissance, operational light transport, logistics, training and civil service. the only device derived from H160.

– The ordered 169 aircraft will be distributed between the Army (80), the National Fleet (49) and the Air Force (40). Deliveries will begin in 2027.

– Guépard’s production will irrigate the entire French aviation sector and help save more than 2,000 jobs in France.

– Florence Parley, Minister of the Armed Forces, states: ” By gradually replacing 5 different types of aircraft, some of which have been in service for more than 40 years, Cheetah will provide our armies with the means to perform their tasks more efficiently over the next 40 years. This program immortalizes the know-how and jobs of Airbus Helicopters, the European leader in civilian and military helicopters. “.

According to the Military Programming Act (LPM) for 2019-2025, orders for 169 cheetahs, including the top 30 in the solid phase, are part of a global market of ten billion euros, including:

– development and delivery of 169 aircraft;

– providing a system of support and training;

– maintenance in operational condition (MKO) for ten years.

The reported market also includes:

– an order for more than € 200 million for ten H160 helicopters for the National Gendarmerie, as part of an aviation industry support plan;

– Order DGA Tests in Flight Experience and Test Center for the future test bench of H160 helicopters for flight tests for the development and qualification of equipment and future weapon systems.

The paramilitary version of the new H160 model in the range of Airbus and Cheetah civilian helicopters will replace the Gazelle, Alouette III, Dauphin, Panther and Fennec helicopters currently in use. The concept of a “single fleet” will combine development costs between the three armies. It will also allow you to optimize support using the effect of scale, for example, in the spare parts warehouse.

Following the pre-project phase announced by DGA in 2019 by Airbus Helicopters and Safran Helicopter Engines, development work will continue until 2029. The first production will begin in 2024.

Aircraft support will be provided to Airbus Helicopters for the first ten years after the first helicopter is delivered. This is fully in line with the aviation reform of the MCO, approved by the Minister of the Armed Forces in December 2017 and implemented by the Department of Air Navigation Services (DMAé). The manufacturer’s liability after the notification of the contract for maintenance services guarantees the availability of devices at a controlled cost.

By adding specialized equipment for each army, the cheetah will be able to perform a variety of missions:

– For 80 army cheetahs: armed reconnaissance, fire support, special forces penetration, command support;

– For 49 cheetahs of the French Navy: air and naval combat, protection and support of naval forces, special naval actions, state actions at sea;

– For 40 cheetahs of the air and space forces: surveillance and protection of airspace, search and rescue, fire support and reconnaissance.

The launch of Guépard will ensure the industrial operation of the Airbus Helicopters plant in Marignan for the next 15 years. It is a program that will irrigate the entire French aviation sector, including its SMEs throughout the country, with 80% of H160 parts suppliers located in France, mostly in the south. In total, more than 2,000 jobs will be permanently posted in France with the help of Cheetah and its derivatives for export.

Press release of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, 22.12.21


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