If truly proven to be effective in practice, the H160M Guepard, Airbus’ futuristic multi-role combat helicopter will soon be put into service in the French armed forces.
Airbus is also actively introducing H160M Guepard to military markets with first deliveries in 2026. In May 2019, Airbus Group officially launched a full-size mock-up model of the Guepard, one of the world’s most modern helicopter designs being actively developed by Airbus. The H160M helicopter model was introduced on the occasion of the French Defense Minister Florans Parly’s visit to Airbus factory in Marigane.
According to leaked sources, the H160M Guepard was developed to replace the five different platforms that have served since the seventies for the oldest, including Fennec, Gazelle, Panther, Alouette III and Dauphin.
The H160M Guepard is developed from civil H160, it will benefit from many inherent advantages of its predecessor, especially in terms of support, with simple maintenance and lower operating costs compared to the previous generation of helicopters in this category. In its army aviation role, the H160M is the perfect complement to an air-land force, reconnaissance, special forces operations, and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence operations.
The H160M Guepard is expected to have a maximum speed of 292km/h, the main rotor system called Bule Edge significantly reduces noise and increases efficiency, increasing the load by 100kg compared to traditional rotors.
The helicopter was operated by a crew of two sitting in parallel in a glass cockpit. The cockpit is equipped with Helionix aviation electronics, integrated with four multifunction screens.
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In addition to the role of transporting troops and passengers, the Guepard is expected to integrate advanced sensors and weapons to enable it to engage in land and sea combat missions. Image of a real model of H160M shows that it will carry ANL anti-ship missiles with a range of 20km.
According to the manufacturer, people on the Guepard will even be able to talk without headphones. The H160M utilise a canted fenestron anti-torque tail rotor enhances the performance and passenger comfort, while offering flight stability with community-friendly sound levels.
It can also be mounted with a 12.7mm axial machine gun. Thanks to its modularity and versatility, the Guepard can carry out missions of armed reconnaissance, fire support, infiltration of special forces or medical evacuation. For the Navy, it can carry out anti-ship, naval protection or maritime rescue missions. For the Air Force, the H160M has the capability to provide airspace protection, search and rescue, deep action or intelligence missions.
It is expected that H160M will soon serve in the French armed forces in the near future. Although it is unclear which country will become the next customer after France, but if this aircraft truly proves its performance as advertised, the countries are using Airbus helicopters will be the most potential customers.