France Christens Future Lightweight Joint Helicopter

France Christens Future Lightweight Joint Helicopter 28 May, 2019

A mock-up of the French H160M armed helicopter, now christened Guépard (Cheetah), was unveiled today by Airbus Helicopters. Its development launch has been brought forward to 2021, allowing production deliveries to follow in 2026. (Airbus photo)

The French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, has announced that the launch of the Joint Light Helicopter (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger; HIL) programme has been brought forward to 2021. HIL will be named “Guépard” (Cheetah) in French service.

On this occasion, she announced her decision to bring forward the launch of the HIL program to 2021, instead of 2022 as provided for in the Military Planning Act (LPM) 2019-2025. The first deliveries of the 169 Guépard helicopters - 15 more than planned in the previous LPM - will be able to take place as early as 2026, instead of 2028.

The HIL program aims to equip the three services with a single model of light helicopter to replace the five currently in service, the oldest since the seventies: the Army’s Gazelle, Alouette III and Dauphin; the Navy’s Panther and the Air Force’s Fennecs.

The HIL programme, for which the Airbus Helicopters’ H160 was selected in 2017, was initially scheduled for launch in 2022 by the current military budget law. Launching the programme earlier will enable delivery of the first H160Ms to the French Armed Forces to be advanced to 2026.





France Christens Future Lightweight Joint Helicopter

Issue 86