16-Apr-2021 Source: French Military
Intended to equip the French Army, the 8 helicopters will be delivered in 2024 and 2025 and will initiate the replacement of the SA330 Puma maneuver helicopters, whose average age is 43 years. They will thus contribute to forming a homogeneous fleet, the Army already having ten Caracal helicopters in service. This order, worth around 300 million euros, is anticipated in relation to the planning of the Military Programming Law (LPM)2019-2025. It will ensure a workload equivalent to 960 jobs for three years within Airbus Helicopters, its main equipment suppliers Thales and Safran, and their subcontractors Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Mid-size enterprises (ETI) . It will also make it possible to equip the Ar,my with high-performance and versatile devices up to the latest standard, capable of carrying out difficult missions in the most demanding environments.
More efficient than the SA330 Puma, the H225M Caracal is the latest standard in the helicopter of the Super Puma family. In service since 2006, the Caracal is a modern aircraft optimized for combat search and rescue missions. It is also used during maneuver and medical evacuation missions. Versatile, the Caracal carries out these numerous missions, day and night, both on national territory and on external operations.
Refuelable in flight, by tactical transport aircraft (type C130-J from today and A400M Atlas from 2022), the Caracal has the best reach and range in its category, a decisive military advantage. Engaged in external operations carried out by special forces, the Caracals were also employed during the year 2020 on the national territory and as part of Operation Resilience. Three Caracals from the 1/67 “Pyrenees” helicopter squadron thus made it possible to transfer 16 patients from the Orly medical evacuation center to less congested hospitals in the provinces.
Order of a prototype aerial drone for the French Navy
Ordering a prototype aerial drone for the French Navy(SDAM) will make it possible to continue the experiments in order to eventually equip the French Navy with an efficient and high-performance naval drone. This drone will be built on the basis of a Cabri G2 helicopter (around 700kg) from the Guimbal company. This cooperation between companies of very different sizes is exemplary. This drone-helicopter will have to master automatic landing on small platforms of combat vessels, which will constitute a major advance on a global scale. Tactically, its complementarity with helicopters will offer the French Navy a considerable extension of its situational awareness. Designed to carry two additional payloads, with an autonomy of 10 hours and a range of 185 km, it will be a real scout to spot, identify, classify threats and abnormal behavior. This order sustains 15 jobs for two years, as well as the expertise of Airbus Helicopters and its subcontractors, in particular Hélicoptères Guimbal.