The domestic market is sufficient to build a European heavy helicopter

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If the Europeans have demonstrated real know-how in the construction of light and medium helicopters, the aeronautical manufacturers of the old continent, whether Airbus H or Agusta-Westland, carefully avoid offering a helicopter in the heavy range. /super heavy, the European market being considered too limited to undertake such a development.

However, today, Germany and Italy plan to acquire at least 95 heavy helicopters between them. Spain and the Netherlands will have to, within a few years, renew their fleet of CH-47s, while Sweden, Finland, Poland, Romania and Greece have also expressed needs in this direction, without, however, having launched a program. The French armed forces, for their part, have a chronic need for heavy helicopters, for the 3 armies, representing a total of sixty to seventy aircraft (8 per RHC, 2 naval flotillas, 2 SAR squadrons). In total, without taking into consideration Great Britain or possible export contracts, European needs for heavy helicopters today exceed 200 units, i.e. a program evolving between 1,2 and 1,5 € billion, representing, in turn, 10.000 direct jobs and 15.000 induced jobs over 15 years for the participating European countries.

S97 Raider from Sikorsky Germany | Defense Analysis | Armed Forces Budgets and Defense Efforts
Sikorsky's Raider demonstrator for the FLV program

In fact, even if the development of a European model increased the total bill by 50% compared to an acquisition.shelf'across the Atlantic, the budgetary return generated by the jobs created (between €700 and €900 million per year depending on the distribution between the States), and that on maintaining operational condition and on spare parts for the devices produced, would compensate at most double this additional cost.

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In addition, the Tigers, NH90 and H160 helicopters having already been developed or being finalized, the European manufacturer Airbus Hélicoptères risks facing a future period of underactivity in terms of studies and developments, with renewal still uncertain. of the Super-Puma range, and the developments of the H145 intermediate ranges and lower, will probably not be able to cover, while such a development would make it possible to make the connection with the start of a project aimed at designing the successor to the Tiger, expected to occur shortly after 2030.

Finally, the development of a new helicopter, which is also intended for heavy transport, represents an excellent platform for integrating new technological approaches aimed at increasing the speed of rotary wings, whether tilting, propulsion, or motorized motorcycles. approach used by the Racer. Finally, note:

Ka92 Minoga Germany | Defense Analysis | Armed Forces Budgets and Defense Efforts
Model of Kamov's Ka-92, serving as the basis for the Russian MINOGA program

It is useful to keep in mind, in this area, that the United States with the FVL[efn_note]Future Vertical Lift[/efn_note] program, like Russia with the “Minoga” program, will have in the future more or less less close, to technologies that will push the rotary wing market, both civil and military, towards new standards, thanks to horizontal speeds exceeding 500 km/h. In the absence of awareness among states and European manufacturers, it will be the entire helicopter sector that will, sooner or later, be at risk of decommissioning.

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