The European Heavy Lift Helicopter Program?
As the 2007 Paris Air Show drew to a close, France and Germany confirmed the rumors and signed a joint declaration of intent to set up a heavy-lift helicopter program. The French DGA procurement agency’s announcement lists an intended in-service date of around 2020. The new machines would be designed to carry personnel, light armored vehicles, and/or cargo, with good performance under a wide range of conditions including hot weather and high altitudes (both of which reduce helicopter performance due to thinner air). The project is known as HelicoptÃ¨re de Transport Lourd (HTL) in France, and Future Transport Helicopter (same FTH in Deutsch) in Germany.
In terms of future force structure, these helicopters would replace Germany’s aging CH-53G Mittlerer Transporthubschrauber, and offer France a heavy-lift helicopter option for its future force that would sit above its planned NH90s and/or AS 532 Cougars. Both countries would rely on the forthcoming Airbus A400M tactical cargo plane and its 35-tonne capacity for larger loads or longer distances.
Note that some reports have stated that the new helicopter would be “capable of carrying a 30-tonne load.” Unless they’re planning to use gyrodyne technology or something similarly revolutionary, this is very, very doubtful. Meanwhile, the program may be morphing into an off-the-shelf competition, complete with international contenders:
Carry That Weight: The Specifications
Hello, Goodbye: Off the Shelf Contenders
Contracts and Key Events
Additional Readings & Sources
Fill in the secure form below to activate your subscription right away (or pick another plan)