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Kuwait orders 30 H225M Caracal helicopters

Airbus Helicopters has secured a vital vote of confidence in its troubled H225, with an order from Kuwait for 30 examples of the military variant.

To be operated by the country's air force and a new aviation unit of the national guard, the H225M fleet will be used for a wide variety of missions including combat search and rescue, naval operations and medical evacuation.

No details have been released on delivery timings or the value of the contract, which also includes a support and services package.

In June last year Kuwait signalled its intention to acquire as many as 24 Caracals. It currently operates a fleet of 11 older SA330 Puma and AS332 Super Puma variants, Flight Fleets Analyzer data shows, as well as 14 SA342 Gazelles which have an average age of more than 40 years.

As well as helping to bolster Airbus Helicopters’ depleted backlog for the type, the commitment from the Middle Eastern state is a rare piece of good news for the programme.

All civil Super Puma flights were grounded following a fatal crash in Norway in late April on concerns over the 11t-class helicopter’s gearbox.

Although the H225M was not affected by the ruling, new sales have been in limbo, with prospective military orders from Singapore, and to a lesser extent Poland, seemingly stalled because of the civil flight ban.

Rival manufacturer Leonardo recently expressed confidence that it could secure orders from those nations, based on the problems being suffered by the H225.

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