Covid-19: Air Force renounces heavy helicopters, but not modernized capabilities

A few months ago, confirmation by Aviation Week that the French Air Force was ready to then lease and acquire CH-47 Chinook heavy helicopters had caused a stir. It must be said that the need for heavy-lift helicopters is enormous, particularly for support to French operations in Africa. With the acquisition of a small number of CH-47s, France would then no longer have been dependent on helicopters deployed by its allies, such as the United Kingdom or Denmark.

Unfortunately, it was to be expected, the post-coronavirus economic crisis will most likely lead to the postponement or cancellation of this program. However, for the Chief of the Air Staff, such an announcement would not necessarily be bad news. Indeed, in the current economic context, the acquisition of equipment produced in France would be a priority. This would allow the Air Force to anticipate the renewal of its Puma transport helicopters, but also to accelerate the delivery of Rafale fighters or A330 MRTT Phoenix tankers.

After several years of hesitation, the French Air Force finally had to acquire CH-47s, ideal complements to its CN-235 transport planes.

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