French Law Enforcement Tactical Units to Operate New-Generation H160 Helicopters

The French Gendarmerie Nationale will start operating H160 helicopters 7 photos
Photo: Airbus
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Airbus has started the year on a high note – its new-generation helicopter, the versatile H160, will be officially operated by the French Gendarmerie Nationale, who became the first law enforcement customer of the innovative rotorcraft.
The European aerospace company had stated that the H160 “opened a new chapter” for the brand’s helicopter history. With a medium size, reduced fuel consumption, and cutting-edge technology developments, the H160 was designed to spearhead a new generation of flexible helicopters.

Indeed, it started operating in offshore transportation, the search and rescue sector, as well as private and business aviation. This recent order from the Gendarmerie Nationale confirms its ability to handle a wide variety of missions.

Some of the innovations that the H160 boasts include the in-house developed Helionix avionics suite, meant to reduce pilot workload and the sound-reducing Blue Edge rotor blades that allow quieter operations. The ten rotorcraft that will be operated by the French law enforcement agency are also equipped with a Safran Euroflir 410 electro-optical system, plus winching and fast roping capabilities.

In terms of design, the H160 is not only more comfortable for its passengers, thanks to increased volume, but it also claims to have the brightest cabin in its class, due to larger windows. Increased safety was also one of the key goals for this new generation helicopter, which is why it integrates “the first-ever computerized rotorcraft flight manual (C-RFM),” for optimal situational awareness. In addition to improved handling and visibility, the pilots also benefit from important data regarding the helicopter’s performance, adapted to weather conditions, and to the desired type of flight.

The H160 was also designed to be easy to operate and maintain. Equipped with the world’s first ground helipad assisted take-off procedure, the H160 guarantees an optimal liftoff. One of its many safety features is a vortex pre-alerting function that is activated when entering flight conditions that could create a dangerous “vortex ring state.”

The first H160 helicopters that will be operated by the Gendarmerie Nationale’s intervention group (GIGN) are scheduled to be delivered before the 2024 Olympic Games that will take place in Paris.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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