The Puma is one of the French helicopters that will be outfitted with the AmSafe cargo-lifting system. (AmSafe Bridport)
LONDON — France has recruited British defense contractor AmSafe Bridport to boost the cargo-lifting capabilities of its military transport helicopter fleets.
The deal may only be worth €12.5 million (US $17.1 million) but the equipment being supplied by the small British provider of cargo handling and airframe products will increase the ability of French helicopters to deliver underslung and internally carried loads to troops on the ground.
French helicopters, including the NH90, Puma, Super Puma, Cougar and Caracal, will be kitted out with the system starting in 2016.
AmSafe said in a statement that the 256 sets of equipment being delivered under the seven-year deal will include a remote-controlled pendant and hook system known as QuickDrop that allows loads to be safely dropped by helicopter crews without the need for ground crew.
“QuickDrop, a key deliverable of the contract, was also selected by the German Army in 2009 for operations with their fleet of NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopters and is being evaluated by a number of other NATO nations,” according to Amsafe’s air business development manager Mark Hennessy.
The contract is the latest in a string of deals that has seen the Bridport, southwest England-based contractor supply small volumes of similar equipment to the French military. ■