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France: H-160 navy helicopter test started

It will be used in search and rescue missions

The French Navy has kicked off flight tests on the first H-160 aircraft developed by Airbus Helicopters for the Armed Force. The tests will take place at the European manufacturer's headquarters in southern France. The six aircraft, purchased between January 2020 and May 2021, will enter service this year.

It was announced yesterday by the manufacturer's CEO, Bruno Even. The six H-160 helicopters will be delivered in Search and Rescue (Sar) configuration. They will gradually begin operating from May 2022 at Lanveoc-Poulmic naval air base in Brittany, at Cherbourg airport in Normandy and at Hyères air station in Provence.

These new helicopters will replace the NHIndustries NH-90 and AS-565 Panther military aircraft currently deployed on Sar missions aboard combat ships. Meanwhile, the French Navy still awaits delivery of H-160M "Guépard" rotary-wing aircraft as part of the French Joint Light Helicopter (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger) program. 

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency