Airbus Helicopters has flown the first serial production H160 to roll off the line at Marignane in southern France, the company announced on 18 December.
The event, which took place on 14 December, marked an important milestone in the development of the H160 helicopter, which was selected in 2017 to fulfil the French military's Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger (HIL) requirement to replace most of its current rotary-winged inventory with a single type.
This first serial production H160, which is destined for launch customer Babcock, will now join three prototype helicopters in the final steps of the flight test campaign. This will include confirming that the modifications introduced onto the serial configuration have no impact on the helicopter's handling qualities.
The H160's construction represents a new production method for Airbus Helicopters, with its fuselage manufactured at the company's facility in Donauwörth in Germany, tail booms in Spain, and avionics and other dynamic components - such as gearboxes and rotorblades - at sites throughout France, including Paris and Marignane. Final assembly of the helicopters takes place at Marignane.
Under the HIL programme, the H160 will replace all helicopter types in the French military except for the NHIndustries NH90, Airbus Helicopters Tiger, and Airbus Helicopters H225M Caracal.
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