Airbus Helicopters wins major orders from France, Spain
French Army and Air Force versions of the H160M, left; Spanish Guardia Civil H135, right.

Airbus Helicopters wins major orders from France, Spain

France initially orders 30 H160M for its Joint Light Helicopter program; Spanish Ministries of Defence and Interior sign for 36 H135s.


In separate announcements, Airbus Helicopters management revealed orders from multiple government customers that could eventually tally more than 200 aircraft.

The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) has signed a contract with Airbus Helicopters for the development and procurement of the H160M in the frame of the Light Joint Helicopter program (HIL). The contract includes the development of several prototypes and the delivery of a first batch of 30 aircraft (21 for the army, 8 for the navy, and one for the air force). The French Ministry for the Armed Forces plans to order a total of 169 H160M helicopters, or Guépard as it will be known in the French armed forces. Deliveries will start in 2027 beginning with the French Army.

The H160M is derived from the EASA-certified civilian H160. The military version will perform missions ranging from commando infiltration to air intercept, fire support, and anti-ship warfare.

Airbus Helicopters also commits to management of maintenance and aircraft availability through a dedicated organization introduced with the global support contract signed in 2020 for the French Cougar and Caracal fleet. The H160M’s support is based on the exploitation of data through analytics.

The Spanish Ministries of Defence and Interior have ordered 36 Airbus H135 helicopters as part of a plan by the Spanish government to support the industry. The Ministry of Defence will receive 18 helicopters to be operated by the air force and the navy while the Ministry of Interior will also take delivery of 18 helicopters to be operated by the National Police and the Guardia Civil. The deliveries will start next year.

The Spanish Army already operates a fleet of 16 H135 helicopters. With this acquisition, these will be the Spanish Air Force’s first H135s and the Spanish Navy’s first Airbus Helicopters product. The new aircraft for the air force and navy will replace older helicopter models currently used for advanced pilot training.

The Ministry of Interior currently has a fleet of 31 helicopters from the H135 family in operation with the National Police, the Guardia Civil, and Tráfico.

About 1,350 H135 helicopters are in use with 300 operators in 64 countries. The fleet has accumulated 6 million flight hours.