H160 Gendarmerie version begins flight test campaign
H160 Gendarmerie version begins flight test campaign
© Airbus Helicopters

| Antony Angrand | Source : Air&Cosmos 436 mots

H160 Gendarmerie version begins flight test campaign

The Airbus Helicopters H160, in a version specially dedicated to the Gendarmerie Nationale, has begun its flight tests. Registered F-WJXB, the aircraft is fitted with its own optronic ball.

A machine dedicated to flight tests 

The first of ten H160s destined for the French Gendarmerie is starting its flight test campaign. The aircraft is unique in that its temporary manufacturer's registration is F-WJXB, and its future colors are "negative" - in other words, it is white where the paint should be blue, and vice versa. With its optronic ball under the chin, the twin-engine is not yet equipped with all the options that will appear on the 10 machines reserved for the Gendarmerie, namely the winch, the gallows, the smooth rope as well as the headlight. 

A specific mission system...

This first H160 Pégase, since it's the official name for the Gendarmerie, like its nine other congeners that will follow it, will benefit from a tailor-made cabin solution in the form of a specific mission system, developed by Airbus Helicopters with the Gendarmerie Nationale to adapt to the latter's needs. The on-board mission system will be able to gather all the information, process it and adapt to the choices made by the operator behind the screens, and the user on the ground, so as to be able to either retrieve or send the information collected to communicate it. This mission system will be interconnected with the helicopter itself, and will also be interconnected with the various networks of the Gendarmerie Nationale and the police, to name but a few. 

...With information from various sensors 

There will be an operator behind this mission system, who will be located on the left-hand side behind the cockpit, i.e. in the cabin, positioned behind a system implementing two screens. He will receive information from the camera, and from various police and gendarmerie networks. To these will be added inputs from the ground, in flight, from various sensors. The operator will therefore need to have before him a set of software resources and an ergonomic interface that will enable him to make the most of this information as quickly as possible, and in the best possible way, for his mission. The operator will have exactly the same role as a flight engineer. Depending on the situation in the field, he or she may also be a camera mission system operator or a winch operator. The mission system will undergo a qualification campaign rather than a trial. "The test is more to do with certification, we're not into certification, the hardware product will nevertheless be certified," adds Lieutenant Benoît.

For the Gendarmerie Nationale, the H160 will be the largest helicopter ever put into service up to that point, which will open up mission fields if not unknown, at least unprecedented. 


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