Thales has been selected by Airbus Helicopters to deliver key technologies for France’s Guépard helicopters.

The move comes after the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) signed a contract with Airbus Helicopters to procure military H160M helicopters under the Light Joint Helicopter programme (HIL).

The first delivery batch will include 30 aircraft including 21 units for the French Army. The naval forces will receive 8 helicopters and the remaining one will be for the air force.

Overall, France can order a total of 169 joint light helicopters which will be known as Guépard (Cheetah) in the armed forces following their induction.

A military version of the H160 helicopter, Guépard will be capable of conducting up to 20 different missions.

The helicopter can be used for reconnaissance, special forces infiltration and command and fire support by the French Army, while the French Navy can use it for anti-ship warfare, maritime protection and support.

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The aircraft can also be used by the French Air and Space Force for airspace surveillance and protection, search and rescue missions among others.

Thales will deliver several onboard equipment for the helicopter including FlytX cockpit avionics, the AirMaster C radar and an optimised defensive aids system.

The company will also be responsible for complete communication, navigation, identification (CNI) suite with the ERS-a airborne version of the new CONTACT software-defined radio.

The helicopter pilots will use the Thales TopOwl Helmet-mounted Sight & Display systems.

Thales chairman and CEO Patrice Caine said: “Airbus Helicopters and the French defence procurement agency are placing their trust in the latest generation of Thales technologies to meet demanding new standards for military aviation.

“We are proud to be taking part in such a crucial programme for the armed forces.”

The deliveries of the Guépard helicopters are expected to start in 2027 with the French Army.

Earlier this month, French Army received 119th Griffon vehicle this year from the GME team.