Belgian Air Force Demo Team 2012
   Text: Bruno Ghils - Bruno Ghils & Serge Van Heertum (Archives) © sbap 2013

The French Navy has temporarily based an EC225 helicopter at Cherbourg - Maupertus (which is an airport open to public air traffic, located in the municipalities of Maupertus-sur-Mer and 11 km from Gonneville the Cherbourg is in Manche near Cherbourg).

Primarily responsible for rescue missions at sea and service missions, the Flotille 32F, originally based at Lanvéoc-Poulmic (Finistère) replaces the Aerospatiale “Dauphin”of the Flotille 35F formerly based there. Awaiting the return of the “Dauphin” at Maupertus, one of the two EC225 of 32F has temporarily left the Bretagne area, Thanks to the arrival of the French Navy NH-90 “Caiman” delivered to the Flotille 33F, permitting this unusual deployment.

It should be noted that this is currently the only heavy helicopter planned to cover an area from (lanvéoc-Poulmic) Bretagne to the Manche department, this area includes the Cotentin and Normandy coast, around 700 kilometers. This deployment also invokes the question of the need for the presence of heavy equipment in the danger zone .... the presence of a heavy Helicopter EC225 would perhaps be an interim solution, but ultimately become a permanent solution.

(Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)

Cruise speed : 270 km/h (320 km/h maximum)

Autonomy : 4 heures

Maximum range : 220 nautics (1000 km)

Altitude : max 20 000 feet (6095 m)

Cargo bay capacity : 16 seats or 6 stretchers and 4 seats.
3,8 tons winch load

Engines: 2 turbomoteurs Makila 2A

Équipement Modern avionics with EFIS screens

Auto pilot system allowing stationary flight day and night

Certified IFR

Crew: SAR/SECMAR version : 2 pilots, 1 winchman, 1 diver, 1 medic et 1 para-medic


Created on January 1st, 1958 on the base of Cuers-Pierrefeu, the Flotille 32F was firstly equipped with Sikorsky HSS1 helicopters. In July 1962, the 32F moved to Saint-Mandrier where it was converted into an antisubmarine training unit.

Two years later, in June 1964, the squadron was assigned to 32F Lanvéoc-Poulmic (Finistère). They also provide training detachments to the Jeanne d'Arc (Helicopter Door and training ship of the French Navy). On February 1st, 1970, the appearance of the “Super Frelon” fleet brought the need for all-weather capabilities for anti-submarine warfare and rescue missions.

September 1st, 1981, the 32F is converted into a transport helicopter unit, which operates in parallel with public service operations. Finally, in 1993, the Flotille 32F receives the specific mission for rescue operations in the Bretagne area, reinforced on September 15th, 1997 whith the four Aerospatiale 365N “Dauphin” based at Le Touquet, Cherbourg, La Rochelle, and Hyères.

On April 1st, 2002, The 32F comprised seven “Super Frelon” (This helicopter has largely fulfilled its mission in rescuing about 1,500 people from the sea). Having reached their limits, the “Super Frelon” fleet began its retirement process in December 2008. To remain operational, the 32F was temporarily equipped with former French Air Force Eurocopter EC-725 helicopters. Two EC-225 (the Super Puma family) were subsequently purchased. Ordered in December 2009 to Eurocopter, the first one was delivered on April 22nd, 2010 at Lanvéoc. The last “Super Frelon” helicopters were removed from active duty on April 30th, 2010.

Sikorsky HSS-1 (Archives French Navy) (Archives French Navy)
Aerospatia SA321 "Super Frelon" (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)

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