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French Future Light Joint Helicopter has its name revealed and will enter service 2 years in advance


French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, announced on May 27 that the future Light Joint Helicopter (HIL program) of the French military will have its procurement accelerated.


French Future Light Joint Helicopter has its name revealed and will enter service 2 years in advance This new helicopter will be called now "Guépard" (Picture source: French Ministry of the Armed Forces)


"The HIL program will (…) be launched as early as 2021, one year ahead of the forecasts of the military programming law. And this will enable the launch of HIL in our forces two years in advance, from 2026” said French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly , during a visit to the Airbus Helicopters plant in Marignane on May 27.

"Choosing to receive new equipment sooner with enhanced and accelerated operational capabilities means being able to remove our old fleets from service before their maintenance leads to disproportionate costs or security concerns arise," she added. And the latter has made another announcement: this new helicopter will be called now "Guépard" ("Cheetah" in French).

The HIL is about a twin-engine capable of flying at 180 knots (more than 330 km / h). It can carry two crew members and 5 equipped fighters. This helicopter is developed from the H160 platform whose inaugural flight takes place in December 2018.

The armies will receive a total of 169 Guépards to replace five fleets of very old helicopters (Alouette 3, Dauphin, Gazelle, Fennec and Panther): 80 for the Army, 49 for the Navy and 40 for the Air Force. The export market is valued at 400 engines.

"Versatile, modern, incredibly fast, it will equip the three armies: Land, Air and Navy. First deliveries in 2026. For our forces and on the ground, let's keep the advantage." said the Minister on her Twitter account.