France's DGA procurement agency has ordered 25 ground mat kits to improve the safety of military helicopters landing under "brownout" conditions, with its acquisition coming shortly before the planned first operational deployment of the French army's Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters.

Awarded to Deschamps on 19 March, the €2.5 million ($3.4 million) contract covers the delivery of 25 so-called "anti-sand carpets" between April and August.

The new equipment (shown in bottom image) will enhance operating safety and cut maintenance demands by reducing the effects of sand and dust landings on helicopter engines and rotor blades, the DGA says.

 Tiger dust - DGA

 Tiger landing mat - DGA

Both images © DGA

France's defence ministry has received a boost of €2.4 billion to its budget this year, with the DGA saying this will enable it to increase its equipment procurement spending by 10%.

The French army expects to deploy several Tiger aircraft to Afghanistan in the second quarter of this year, strengthening its commitment to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in the country. The French air force has equipment including Dassault Rafale strike aircraft and EADS/Israel Aerospace Industries Eagle 1 unmanned air vehicles in Afghanistan.

Source: Flight International