A rash of first flights and orders has poured from Eurocopter’s press department in the past few days.
December 20: A rash of first flights and orders has poured from Eurocopter’s press department in the past few days.
Friday December 17 saw no less than four ‘first flights’; the first pre-production Tiger HAD (fire support and destruction) for France made its maiden flight at the company’s facility in Marignane, France. During the next few months it will undergo joint testing and development flights with the first Spanish Tiger HAD, which re-started its flight test sequences three months ago.
The first NH90s in the tactical transport helicopter (TTH) configuration for both France and Spain also made their maiden flights at Marignane. During a one-hour mission, the French aircraft carried out dynamic systems checks followed by handling qualities evaluations and initial avionics tests before leaving for the Flight Test Centre at Istres. The Spanish aircraft will be transferred to Eurocopter’s facility at Albacete in Spain in early 2011 to continue with development flight tests leading to its full qualification by the Spanish Ministry of Defence.
Finally the second EC175 prototype helicopter made its first flight at Marignane, validating basic handling qualities and system functionality.
Eurocopter’s Helicópteros do Brasil (Helibras) subsidiary has delivered the first three of 50 EC725s for Brazil’s armed forces today. While these helicopters were built by Eurocopter in France and finalised by Helibras, Brazilian assembly of the EC725 will begin in 2012 at Helibras’ new production facility in Itajubá. Brazilian-supplied content will increase to a minimum of 50% by 2016, when the final EC725s from the order are delivered.
Also today Poland’s public air medical rescue operator LPR (Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe) received its final two EC135 helicopters from the 23 ordered by the Polish Ministry of Health. The helicopters have modernised the country’s nationwide emergency medical services (EMS) network operating from 17 bases across the country by replacing ageing Mi-2s.