The French government has ordered 42 new H145 helicopters from Airbus, which will start delivering the aircraft in 2024.
Under the finalized deal with the Directorate General of Armaments, the manufacturer will provide Sécurité Civile, France’s rescue and emergency response agency, with 36 units of the multi-mission helicopter.
The other six H145s will be for Gendarmerie Nationale, the French law enforcement agency.
Airbus said the incoming H145s are set to replace the fleet of EC145s that Sécurité Civile currently operates for rescue and air medical transport services.
Gendarmerie Nationale also plans to retire its fleet of Ecureuils, EC135s and EC145s when the new helicopters arrive. Notably, Gendarmerie’s H145s will be outfitted with an electro-optical system and a mission computer to support the agency’s law enforcement operations.
The DGA contract includes a full aircraft support package, the delivery of training services and spare parts, and an option for Gendarmerie Nationale to acquire 22 additional H145s.
“The H145 has already proven its worth with the Sécurité Civile conducting many rescue missions in the difficult mountainous environment of the French Alps,” Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even said. “The H145 is operated by many law enforcement agencies across the world. The Gendarmerie will benefit from a state-of-the-art helicopter equipped with the latest mission systems.”
The Airbus H145, which achieved European Union Aviation Safety Agency certification in June 2020, boasts two Safran Arriel 2E engines and a four-axis autopilot for enhanced safety and reduced pilot workload.