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2002-2004

2002

28 January: The world’s first aircraft featuring a series-production primary flight control system via optical fibre ("Fly-by-Light") successfully completes its official maiden flight at Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH's Ottobrunn facility near Munich. The fully redundant flight control system for pilot and co-pilot had been integrated into a production EC135 helicopter. The control signals between the pilot's station, the flight control computer, and the actuators for the rotor-blade control are not transmitted electrically, but optically via optical fibre. The ACT/FHS is being developed within the framework of a technology programme by Eurocopter Deutschland and Liebherr in cooperation with the German Aerospace and Space Centre (DLR) and the German Armed Forces test centre (WTD61).

21 February:  Located at the Marseille-Provence International Airport, Helisim is inaugurated by the presidents of Eurocopter (Jean-François Bigay), Thales Training & Simulations (Guy Delevacque), Defense Conseil International (Yves Michot), and Helisim (Guy Dabadie). Helisim had been founded at the beginning of 2000 as an SAS-type company under French law with three shareholders: Eurocopter (45%), Thales Training & Simulations (45%) and Defense Conseil International (10%).

24 April:  Delivery of the first EC145 to the French Sécurité Civile. The organisation is the launch customer for the helicopter and has ordered a total of 32. The EC145 has a higher takeoff weight of 3,550 kg, and an enhanced payload. The seating capacity of the various configurations is for up to 10 people: the pilot and nine passengers. The length of the cabin has been extended from 2.56 to 2.96 metres, and its width by 18 cm to 1.39 metres.

25 July: The front and rear NH90 fuselage sections are delivered to the Eurocopter Deutschland facility in Donauwörth (Munich), which produced the centre fuselage, for the fuselage junction of the first series production NH90. In accordance with the original NH90 programme, a single source manufacturer produced the fuselage modules: Eurocopter (Marignane) turned out the front, Eurocopter Deutschland the centre and Agusta (at Brindisi facility) the rear.

22 September: Eurocopter and EADS CASA sign a memorandum of understanding to create Eurocopter España.

First flight of EC725 with the Makila 2A engine in Marignane on September 20, 2002.

3 October: First flight of the EC725 with the Makila 2A engine. The new engine developed by Turbomeca has a new-generation compressor. It operates at higher temperatures, and therefore generates 14% more contingency power (2,448 hp, 2,413 shp) than the preceding version.

15 October: The All Weather Helicopter (AWH) demonstrator makes its maiden flight from Marignane (France). The demonstrator is an EC155 B fitted out with:
-  A position-finding system based on GPS and DGPS navigation. The system dialogues with an STNA ground station on the Eurocopter site that provides the differential corrections.
-  A mission computer to manage the 3-dimensional flight plans, to guarantee the safe clearance of the flight plans over the database-stored terrain, and to ensure accurate guidance over the flight path with the assistance of a ground collision avoidance function.
-  Two large screens on the instrument panel to display the AWH-specific piloting symbology, and to show the mission information on a 3D map background.
- A 4-axis autopilot to allow steep approaches in zero visibility with DGPS guidance.

2003

26 March:  The first production HAP Tiger due to be delivered to the French Army Air Corps (ALAT) takes off from Marignane (France).

27 November:  Eurocopter obtains ISO 9001:2000 and EN9100:2002 certification for all its sites in France and Germany. The Association Française pour l'Assurance de la Qualité (French Quality Assurance Association) performed the audit in France, and the certification organisation AEROCERT performed the audit in Germany.

The quality system of the Franco-German helicopter manufacturer is now harmonised in both countries, through standardised procedures.

12 December: The NH90 with full fly-by-wire (FBW) controls conducts its maiden flight. The main aim of the FBW control system developed by Eurocopter is to reduce the pilot's workload so he can focus on the mission. FBW controls eliminate all mechanical components, from the pedals and pilot control sticks/levers to the main and tail rotor servocontrols.

15 December: EADS CASA acquires a stake in Eurocopter’s capital.

2004

20 February: The first Tiger production helicopter, an ARH (armed reconnaissance helicopter) version for Australia, performs its maiden flight at Eurocopter's Marignane plant. The Australian ARH version of the Tiger is derived from the Franco-German Tiger variant. It is armed with 70 mm rockets and Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles on its four hard points, as well as an Australian specific communications and data transmission system.

29 March: The aeronautical programmes division of the French General Delegation for Armaments (DGA) issues the military type certification for the HAP version of the Tiger. On 30 March, the European Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) then qualifies this version.

7 July: The first Puma helicopter completely refurbished and overhauled by Eurocopter Romania is delivered to the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom.

17 August: The German Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung (BWB) grants the type certification for the German combat helicopter variant, UH-Tiger (Unterstützungshubschrauber Tiger). Only one day later, the governmental executive organisation of the Tiger programme, OCCAR DT in Bonn, Germany, grants the qualification for Eurocopter’s ambitious combat helicopter.

20 October: American Eurocopter inaugurates a new facility in Columbus, Mississippi. Next to Columbus Airport's "Golden Triangle," the new site will provide work for about 100 engineers, technicians and administrative staff.

The activities of the new 2,400-acre site will involve manufacturing, assembly and customisation. The Columbus site will mainly focus on the assembly and customisation of the helicopters sold by American Eurocopter to local and federal government organisations for military operations, homeland security and other parapublic missions.

8 December: Launch of the new HAD version of the Tiger for Spain and France with the signing of the first contracts. At the end of October, OCCAR was mandated by the participating countries to launch the development of this new HAD version of the Eurocopter combat helicopter. This launch signifies a major step forward in the advancement of the Tiger programme. The multi-purpose HAD version combines the combat/support capabilities of the HAP version with the attack capability of the UHT version’s air-to-ground missiles.

Helicopters history

The full Helicopters history (1920s to 2018)

1999-2001

2002-2004

2005-2007

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