As part of the defence section of the economy stimulation plan, Hervé Morin, the Minister for Defence, announces an order for 20 mm door mountings to equip the armed forces' transport and attack helicopters. On the 31st of August 2009, the French Defence procurement agency (DGA) notified Nexter Systems and Eurocopter of a contract amounting to 22 million euro for the acquisition of twenty-five 20 mm guns, fifteen door mountings, and their integration on Cougar and Caracal helicopters.
The guns ordered (Nexter Systems' 20M621 type), are already in service in the French army and air force on Gazelle, Fennec and Puma helicopters. Their 2,000 m range will give the Cougar and Caracal helicopters an ability to riposte to hostile fire from small-calibre weapons from beyond their lethal range.
The Nexter Systems' SH20 door mounting is a retractable support for the 20 mm gun. It allows the helicopter to fly over urban and peri-urban areas in a non-aggressive posture (mount and gun retracted into the cabin and doors closed), and allows the gun to be deployed in a few seconds after opening a side door if it is necessary to riposte to a threat.
The Defence section of the economy stimulation plan amounts to 2.4 billion euro and notably increases the credits dedicated to equipment purchase in 2009 by 10%.