The modernization program for French Army Aviation AS532 Cougar helicopters is well underway with eight helicopters now upgraded in the hands of Airbus Helicopters. Two more upgraded helicopters were handed over on 13 March.
Airbus Helicopters was awarded with an ambitious modernization program, by the French General Directorate for Armament, for the 26 Cougar aircraft that are operated by the French Army Aviation. The upgrade includes a new avionics suite and an automatic pilot similar to that of the H225M (formerly the EC725), which brings a similar human machine interface between the two aircraft, a real operational advantage for the crew.
Three AS532 Cougar were upgraded in 2013, and five more in 2014 and an additional seven aircraft will be delivered in 2015.
In April 2014, the modernized Cougar successfully participated in its first operational deployment in Mali as part of Operation Barkhane.
Source: Airbus Helicopters