France has ordered 42 new Airbus Helicopters H145 light-twins for the aviation arms of the Gendarmerie Nationale and Securite Civile.

Deliveries of 36 helicopters for the Securite Civil will take place over the 2024-2028 period, while the Gendarmerie Nationale will receive six airframes between 2025 and 2028. These will be based in Amiens and Chamonix, and also Cayenne, the capital of French Guyana.

The agreement also includes options for another 22 H145s for the Gendarmerie Nationale.

Older H145 GN-c-Airbus Helicopters

Source: Airbus Helicopters

Gendarmerie Nationale operates fleet of legacy EC145s

Both agencies are already operators of the EC145, the H145’s immediate predecessor, while the Securite Civile already flies four H145s in the latest five-bladed D3 standard. The Gendarmerie Nationale is also the lead law enforcement customer for the larger H160, having announced a 10-unit order in 2021.

Equipment on the helicopters will include electro-optical/infrared cameras, fast-roping boom and winch. An armour kit will also provide protection for anti-terrorism missions or “the fight against illegal gold mining in Guyana”, says the interior ministry.

Additionally, the Securite Civile fleet will be equipped to carry up to 1,000 litres of water for firefighting operations.

Although announced on 23 January, the contract was finalised in December and is included in Airbus Helicopters’ order figures for 2023.

The H145 was a big seller in 2023, with the airframer booking 186 orders for the platform – or 45% of its total commitments last year – including a 62-unit deal from Germany for the M-standard military variant.

This story has been updated with additional detail in the third paragraph.