Source: Airbus

The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) ordered 42 new H145 helicopters at the end of 2023, on behalf of the Ministry of Interior, with deliveries set to start in 2024. Of these 42 helicopters, 36 are destined for the French rescue and emergency response agency, Sécurité Civile, while the French law enforcement agency, Gendarmerie Nationale, will use six. The contract includes an option for a further 22 H145s for the Gendarmerie Nationale and a range of support and service solutions from training to spare parts, as well as a complete initial support package for the aircraft.

“We have a long standing relationship with the Gendarmerie Nationale and the Sécurité Civile and I am very proud that we will add another chapter to our shared story,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “The H145 has already proven its worth with the Sécurité Civile conducting many rescue missions in the difficult mountainous environment of the French Alps”, he added. “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,” he explained.

The Sécurité Civile currently operates four five-bladed H145s, ordered in 2020 and 2021. The 36 H145s will progressively replace the 33 EC145s currently in operation for rescue and air medical transport services, throughout France.

The six H145s will initiate the renewal of the Gendarmerie’s fleet, composed of Ecureuils, EC135s and EC145s. They will be equipped with an electro-optical system and a mission computer to perform the most demanding law enforcement missions.

Certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency in June 2020, this new version of Airbus’ best-selling H145 light twin-engine helicopter brings a new, innovative five-bladed rotor to the multi-mission helicopter, increasing the useful load by 150 kg while delivering new levels of comfort, simplicity, and connectivity. Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145 the quietest helicopter in its class. Today, Airbus has more than 1,675 H145 family helicopters in service around the world, logging a total of more than 7.6 million flight hours.