Airbus details H160M for French Armed Forces

Airbus Helicopters revealed more details about the Airbus Helicopter H160M military helicopter selected for the French Joint Light Helicopter Program (HIL).

The H160M was selected by French Defense Ministry to replace six different helicopters in service with French Army, Air Force and Navy.

The helicopter is a militarized version of the new generation commercial H160 medium weight utility helicopter being developed by Airbus. The three services will receive specific variants with custom features.

The H160M will feature larger windows for increased visibility, an IFF+ interrogator, , external sling, hoist, self protection system, infra-red suppression in engine exhausts, anti-sand engine air intake filter, canted fenstron tail rotor for improved stability and low vibrations, in-flight refueling system, 20 mm canon, side-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun and electro-optical system.

The medium weight helicopter will have a maximum take off weight (MTOW) ranging from 5,669 kg to 6,050 kg, a 400 NM (741 km) range and a 5 troop/2 stretcher capable cabin.

The Army variant will come equipped additionally with a datalink and TDA Armements Aculeus  laser guided ground attack rocket firing capability, while the Navy variant will have anti-ship missile capability, a datalink, tactical radar and manually foldable main rotor blades and tail fin for ship-board operations.

The H160M can be flown under pilot autonomy for 50 hours with out any checks. It is powered by two Safran Helicopter Engines Arrano turboshaft engines rated at 1,100 shp each.

The commercial H160 is undergoing flight testing and is scheduled to enter service in 2019.

French sources reported that H160M will make maiden flight in early-2020 and commence delivery by 2023.