First 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.
The 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