Gendarmerie Nationale, the French National Police, has ordered 10 new Airbus H160 medium twin helicopters as part of a contract for the procurement of 169 H160Ms for the French Ministry of Armed Forces. The latter is part of a 2020 government stimulus plan to support France’s aeronautical industry. This order means the company now has H160 customers for offshore transportation, private and business aviation, search and rescue, and law enforcement missions, according to Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even.
These H160s for the Gendarmerie Nationale will be equipped with a Safran Euroflir 410 electro-optical system, winching, and fast-roping capabilities. The air force command center of the Gendarmerie Nationale and Airbus are also developing a tailored H160 mission management system.
The agency already operates a mixed fleet of Airbus H125, H135, and H145 helicopters. Adding the H160 is expected to bring a new troop transport capability to the French Ministry of Interior’s security forces—mainly tactical units such as the Gendarmerie Nationale’s intervention group (GIGN). The first H160s will be delivered before the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, to be distributed to four bases around the country.