The French Navy has taken delivery of its first of six H160 medium utility helicopters from Airbus.

The aircraft will be used to support the navy’s search and rescue missions and other military operations.

According to Airbus Chief Executive Officer Bruno Even, the arrival of the first H160 in France is a “major milestone,” in its partnership with the nation.

“With this H160, we will strengthen our partnership with the French Navy, delivering the right helicopter for its critical search and rescue missions. Together with our partners, we will also ensure that the H160 is ready when needed,” he said.

The newly-delivered utility helicopter will be deployed at Lanveoc-Poulmic naval air station, Cherbourg airport, and the naval air station in Hyères.

H160 Helicopter

The H160 is a next-generation, twin-engine helicopter with a modular design for use in various missions, including offshore transportation and emergency medical services.

Powered by Arrano engines, the aircraft has a maximum speed of 150 knots (277 kilometers/172 miles per hour) and range of 474 nautical miles (877 kilometers/545 miles).

It is equipped with Airbus’ Helionix avionics suite for reduced pilot workload, tail rotor Fenestron for greater useful load and flat attitude in flight, and Blue Edge rotor blades for quieter operations.

It is also certified for the use of night vision goggles, making it suitable for operations at night.

“With reduced fuel consumption and perceived sound, the H160 is cleaner and quieter than others in its class, and allows customers to take a step towards reducing their environmental footprint,” Airbus states on its website.

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