Aerospace engineers Safran have confirmed that they will supply key components to Airbus to support the development of its H160M Guépard twin engine helicopter type.
The aircraft is being developed as part of the French armed forces’ Joint Light Helicopter program (HIL) which aims to replace five helicopter types (Gazelle, Alouette III, Dauphin, Panther and Fennec) currently in service with French forces.
Under the arrangement, Safran will supply its 1,300 shaft horsepower (SHP) Arrano turboshaft engine to the project – which Safran says offers around 20 per cent lower fuel consumption compared with the engines of the aircraft which the Guépard will replace.
The engines can also be run on a 50 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blend, and was certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in June 2019.
Safran will also supply its Euroflir 410 electro-optical systems, alongside smart electromechanical actuators (SEMA), trim actuators, cockpit components, windshield wiper systems and electrical distribution.
The firm will also provide various safety systems, including floatation devices and life rafts, as well as fuel and cooling management systems.
The engines will be used to deliver up to 169 helicopters for the French military
Airbus received official confirmation of an order for 30 Guépard aircraft in December 2021, as part of a framework agreement arranged with government’s Armament General Directorate (DGA) procurement agency, on behalf of the military.
The French armed forces ultimately plan to acquire a full fleet of 169 Guépard aircraft, for distribution among the three branches, with 80 units going to the army, 49 to the navy, and 40 to the air force. According to French defence minister Florence Parly, aircraft deliveries will begin in 2027.
The DGA also awarded a contract to Airbus earlier this month for the supply and maintenance of 10 H160 helicopters in a law enforcement configuration, for operation by the National Gendarmerie.