France AN H160 via Marine Nationale Babcock 640First Marine Nationale H160B arrives at Lanvéoc-Poulmic

On 12 January 2023, the first Marine Nationale (French Navy) Airbus H160B of the interim fleet was delivered to Base Aeronautique Navale (BAN, Naval Air Station) Lanveoc-Poulmic (Brittany) for use with Flotille 32F "Evit ma vevo ar re all” (So that others may live).

Pending the final military version, the Airbus H160M Guépard, an interim fleet of six H160Bs will be leased from Babcock. These helicopters will be flown by French Navy crews and will provide Search & Rescue (SAR).

In February 2020, Scramble Magazine reported that the Direction générale de l'Armement (DGA, French Defence Procurement Agency) confirmed that the French Navy will be supplied with four Airbus H160 helicopters. In May 2021, the DGA reported the order of an additional two H160s.

The H160B is a helicopter developed by Airbus to replace the AS365 and EC155 models in the firm's line-up. With a length of 14m, it is equipped with Safran Arrano engines which allow it to reach a maximum speed of more than 320 km/h. The helicopter was certified in 2020, with the first deliveries in December 2021.

Le mercredi 21 septembre 2022, la Marine nationale reçoit le premier hélicoptère H160 de la flotte intérimaire (FI). À cette occasion, un PHOTEX est réalisé au-dessus de la base d'aéronautique navale d'Hyères et de la presqu'île de Giens.La flotte intérimaire permettra aux flottilles Caïman Marine et Panther d’être pleinement investies sur les missions de combat depuis les frégates. Une de cette flotte, constituée de Dauphin, a vocation à opérer depuis les bâtiments porte-hélicoptères.L'autre volet de la flotte intérimaire, constitué de 6 hélicoptères FI, opérera depuis la terre afin d’armer les plots SECMAR (secours maritime) : c’est le premier hélicoptère de cette série que la marine reçoit ce 22 septembre.Issus d’un travail entre la marine nationale, Babcock, Airbus Helicopters et Safran Helicopters Engines, le H160FI est la version civile qui sert au développement du HIL Guépard. Configurés pour le sauvetage en mer, ils sont équipés d’un treuil, d’un système électro-optique 410 et d’une cabine permettant un aménagement optimisé pour chaque mission. Ils seront également certifiés pour le vol avec de vision nocturne.France AN H160 via Marine Nationale Babcock 3 320The All-Nippon Helicopter (AHN) company received the first aircraft in 2021 for operational commissioning in 2022. In May 2022, Airbus Helicopters delivered the first of six helicopters for the French Navy to Babcock. These H160s are equipped with a console coupled to Safran's optronic system, as well as SAMU standard medical equipment.

This year, 32F will start to carry out rescue and intervention missions at sea. The first H160B, serial 008 and registration F-HMRE (c/n 1008), was flown from Hyères via a nightstop at Dax to Lanvéoc-Poulmic on 11 and 12 January. Currently, the crews carry out various reconnaissance flights from Lanvéoc including approaches to the Brest hospital heliport, a place it will likely use in the future.

Photos via Marine Nationale/Babcock

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