Safran is taking a significant role on the H160M Guépard (“Leopard”) helicopter, developed by Airbus for the French armed forces’ Joint Light Helicopter program (HIL), which will replace five different helicopter types currently in service with French forces: Gazelle, Alouette III, Dauphin, Panther and Fennec.
Airbus recently received the official confirmation of a first batch of 30 helicopters out of a total of 169 from the French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement), contracting authority for the HIL program.
The contract also includes an order for ten H160 helicopters for the French Gendarmerie, a decision made within the scope of the French aerospace industry support plan.
Safran’s main contribution to these twin-engine helicopters is the Arrano, a new-generation turboshaft engine rated at 1,300 shaft horsepower (SHP) that incorporates the latest aero-engine technologies. The Arrano will offer 20% lower fuel consumption than the helicopter engines it replaces in the French armed forces, and can also use a blend of up to 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). It was certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in June 2019.
Another major contribution from Safran is the Euroflir 410 optronic (electro-optical) pod, which will be fitted on most of these 169 Guépard helicopters and the Gendarmerie’s ten H160s to offer unrivaled observation performance. Because of its wide field of view and very-long-range observation capability, the Euroflir 410 allows pilots to operate at a safe distance day or night, so that they can quickly and securely identify different types of threats or persons in danger.
Safran will also supply various high-performance flight control systems, including smart electromechanical actuators (SEMA) and trim actuators, along with cockpit components and windshield wiper systems, and electrical distribution.
In addition, Safran will supply various safety systems (floatability, life rafts), as well as fuel and cooling management systems.
“We are extremely satisfied and proud to have won this order from the French armed forces,” said Franck Saudo, Chief Executive Officer of Safran Helicopter Engines.
“Arrano engines are designed, built and supported in France. This order reflects the ongoing confidence of the French government, our leading customer, with over 1,600 helicopter engines deployed by French forces. On behalf of all Safran companies involved in this program, I can confirm our support for Airbus as they continue to develop these helicopters,” he added.
Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment and interiors), defense and space markets. Its core purpose is to contribute to a safer, more sustainable world, where air transport is more environmentally friendly, comfortable and accessible. Safran has a global presence, with 76,000 employees and sales of 16.5 billion euros in 2020, and holds, alone or in partnership, world or regional leadership positions in its core markets. Safran undertakes research and development programs to maintain the environmental priorities of its R&T and Innovation roadmap.