First SAR Airbus H160 delivered

Aeronavale (French Naval Aviation) has taken delivery of the first of six Airbus H160 helicopters that will perform search and rescue (SAR) missions. The aircraft is part of the interim fleet that will be delivered by the partnership formed between Airbus Helicopters, Babcock, and Safran Helicopter Engines.

The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) initially ordered four of these search and rescue (SAR) configured H160s in 2020. An option for an additional two was placed one year later. In May 2022 the first H160 was delivered to Babcock for modification to SAR helicopter. The H160 will gradually start operating from the Lanveoc-Poulmic naval air station (Brittany), Cherbourg airport (Normandy), and the naval air station in Hyères (Provence).

The introduction of the SAR H160 is a stopgap solution until the first dedicated military H160M Guépards are delivered. The French military have ordered 169 examples of the H160M, destined to replace the five different types that are currently employed.

Photo: Airbus

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