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2008-2011

2008

The EC225 granted FAA type certification

30 January: The EC225 receives its type certification from the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). The harmonised certification procedure between Europe and the United States allowed the FAA to use the work already performed by EASA to speed up its approval process. However, specific points were nevertheless validated by teams from the FAA itself. These teams visited Marignane three times in 2006 and 2007 to assess the helicopter on the ground and in flight. 

EC175 unveiled at Heli-Expo 2008

6 February: Eurocopter, one of the founding members of the Clean Sky initiative, welcomes the launch of the Clean Sky Program. The objective of this major pan-European research programme is to make air travel more sustainable by encouraging aeronautics manufacturers to develop and produce greener products.

24 February: Eurocopter unveils the EC175 at Heli-Expo, introducing its 16-passenger civil product to the market. The development of the EC175, a joint programme with China, started from the contract signature on 5 December 2005.

26 May: Eurocopter acquires Motorflug Baden-Baden GmbH to extend its MRO capabilities. The German specialist for helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) with bases in Baden-Baden, Rheinmünster and Schönhagen near Berlin will become an integral part of Eurocopter’s service and support business and will complement Eurocopter’s maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities in the civil helicopter market.

First unmanned flight of the EC155 UAV demonstrator

24 June: The EC155 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) demonstrator performs its first official unmanned flight. This is the first time Eurocopter has equipped a certified, qualified and already commercialised five metric-tonne helicopter with the capability to fly autonomously from takeoff to landing. 

19 November: Eurocopter announces the creation of Eurocopter Indonesia. Eurocopter had been present in the country for more than 30 years through a partnership with PTDI which began in 1976, with the licensed manufacturing of 118 BO105 helicopters. This first joint cooperation was followed in the 1980s by full licensed production of 11 Puma SA330 and 19 Super Puma AS332 helicopters.

Brazil signs contract for the EC725

23 December: A Eurocopter/Helibras consortium and the Brazilian government sign a contract for 50 EC725s. The helicopters will be operated by Brazil’s armed forces. This is the largest contract ever signed in South America and will provide Brazil with a fleet that is capable of performing an extremely wide range of missions. The new contract will double the production capacity and the number of staff at the Itajuba plant, where the EC725 helicopters will be manufactured, assembled and undergo maintenance support activities after delivery.

29 December: OCCAR, the European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation managing the Tiger combat helicopter programme, issues the final qualification of the HAP (Hélicoptère d’Appui Protection) and UHT (Unterstützungshubschrauber Tiger) versions for France and Germany, respectively. This qualification is issued jointly with the DGA (Délégation Générale pour l’Armement) and the BWB (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung).

2009

1 April: Eurocopter Japan merges with the Group’s local distributor (EuroHeli), increasing Eurocopter’s share in the company to 90 percent. Eurocopter becomes the first foreign aircraft manufacturer with industrial capabilities in the Japanese aeronautic field.

Delivery of 900th Dauphin

17 June: Delivery of the 900th Dauphin, which is also the 100th EC155. The twin-engine SA365 C Dauphin equipped with two 650 hp Arriel engines made its first flight on 23 January 1975. The EC155, an upgraded version of the Dauphin, provides 40 percent more cabin space. It made its first flight on 17 June 1997.    

First flight of Tiger HAD with new engines

30 June: The Tiger HAD version, equipped with two MTR390 “enhanced” (MTR390-E) engines, performs its first flight. The HAD version of the Tiger increases its multi-role capabilities – and its power as well – with the installation of the MTR390-E engine. Developed specifically for the Tiger by the MTRI consortium, the MTR390-E offers a takeoff rating with 14 percent more power compared with the MTR390-2C installed on the Tiger HAP, UHT and ARH helicopters. The new engines will also boost the helicopter’s maximum takeoff weight to 6.6 metric tonnes.

10 July: As part of the Korean Helicopter Programme (KHP), the dynamic test vehicle (DTV) performs its first flight in Marignane. It represents the completed vehicle, with General Electric engines, cowlings manufactured by KAI and Eurocopter dynamic components.
The KHP was launched by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) to develop the KUH, a medium-sized military transport helicopter. KAI directs the programme, while Eurocopter supplies technical support for the helicopter’s development, and manufactures certain subassemblies (i.e. automatic pilots, gearboxes, rotor shafts, etc.).

31 July: The first prototype for the Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH) programme is rolled out in South Korea. The Korean President Lee Myung-bak personally attends the roll out.

18 September: “Step A” qualification is obtained for the naval version of the NH90 for the Netherlands.

17 November: “Step A” qualification is obtained for the naval version of the NH90 for France.

4 December: The EC175 performs its first flight. It comes equipped with a five-blade Spheriflex rotor and a new main gearbox that offers significant noise reduction and enhanced safety. Its roomy cabin has no competition in its class, with large windows that can be jettisoned and room for 16 passengers. It is also extremely flexible, as it can be readily reconfigured for a wide range of missions. Its completely revamped avionics include a highly efficient man-machine interface that significantly reduces the pilot’s workload.

Maiden flight of the EC175

17 December: The EC175 performs its official maiden flight in Marignane in the presence of guests. Customers, partners, suppliers, journalists and Eurocopter employees attend.

2010

4 March: Delivery of the 100th UH-72A Lakota to the US Army. On 30 June 2006, the US Army selected the UH-72A helicopter (a version of the EC145) for the LUH (light utility helicopter) programme. The US Army plans to acquire 345 Lakotas through 2016, and had ordered 182 of the helicopters so far, along with five UH-72A versions for the US Navy. Aircraft already delivered to the Army are used in missions that include medical evacuation (medevac), search and rescue, drug interdiction, VIP transport and support.  The Navy’s five UH-72A versions are utilised by the US Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland, for the training of test pilots from the US military and allied countries.

10 March: Prototype 1 of the Surion (KUH) performs its first flight. A ground test vehicle will be delivered to South Korea in early April. The Korean Helicopter Programme (KHP) was launched by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) to develop the KUH (Surion), a medium-sized military transport helicopter. KAI directs the programme, while Eurocopter supplies technical support for the helicopter’s development and manufactures certain subassemblies (i.e. automatic pilots, gearboxes, rotor shafts, etc.).

19 March: The cornerstone is laid for the EC725 assembly line in Brazil. The new 11,000-square-metre facility will accommodate areas for the EC725 assembly line and manufacturing areas, administrative offices, along with a design office for customisation, production support and programme management. On 23 December 2008, following a joint declaration on defense cooperation signed by the French and Brazilian defense secretaries on 30 June 2008, the Brazilian government signed a contract for 50 EC725s with a consortium formed by Eurocopter and Helibras. These EC725s will be operated by three Brazilian armed forces: the troop transport version by the army, the combat search and rescue version by the air force and the naval version by the navy.

EC145 “Mercedes-Benz Style” interior unveiled

May: The “Mercedes-Benz Style” EC145 is unveiled at the EBACE air show in Geneva. Three cabin layouts are offered, with seats for eight, six, or four passengers. In each case, customers have a wide choice of materials and colours for walls, floors, ceilings and seats, as well as three basic external paint colors.

10 June: Delivery of the 900th EC135 to the Bavarian Police. The EC135 made its first flight on 15 February 1994. It was the first helicopter in the Eurocopter range, based on the technology demonstrator BO108. The most important addition to the EC135 is its Fenestron tail rotor. It is also equipped with a bearingless main rotor. 

Maiden flight of the EC145 T2

25 June: The new generation EC145 T2 performs its first flight. The EC145 T2 was developed based on a proven concept, allowing it to benefit from the many advantages offered by the EC145: an impressive payload, long range, and a spacious, multi-purpose cabin with rear and side access. Flight safety is also ensured by a standard 4-axis autopilot and modern avionics. The dual AFCS significantly reduces the pilot’s workload, particularly in difficult weather or mission conditions. The AFCS is coupled with a satellite navigation system (WAAS/EGNOS), allowing the helicopter to perform high-precision landings in complete safety in any location. Another major innovation is the tail boom featuring the Fenestron tail rotor.

First flight of the X3 high-speed hybrid demonstrator

6 September: First flight of the demonstrator for the X3, a high-speed hybrid helicopter. Eurocopter developed the H3 concept (High-speed, long-range, Hybrid Helicopter), a new type of aircraft that can perform vertical takeoffs and landings and obtain cruising speeds of approximately 220 kts. The aircraft will offer the efficiency of a turboprop engine and the excellent hover flight capabilities of a helicopter. In addition to high speeds, the H3 project focuses on the overall cost of the machine, which must remain affordable. This concept not only saves mission time but also reduces mission costs.

17 December: The first flights of the second EC175 prototype, the first NH90 in the TTH version for France and Spain, and the first pre-serial Tiger HAD (fire support and destruction) for France.

The EC175 is a joint programme of Eurocopter and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). This latest EC175 prototype is configured for oil and gas operations, and includes emergency floatation gear, external life rafts, a full set of radio navigation equipment, HTAWS functionalities, HUMS, a cargo sling and hoist, along with a high-performance air conditioning system.

As a basis configured for day and night tactical transport operations in all environments, the French NH90 TTH is an 11-metric tonne helicopter tailored for missions that include search and rescue, personnel recovery and casualty evacuation. The NH90 TTH will progressively replace the French Army Aviation’s (ALAT) legacy fleet of Puma and Super Puma helicopters in their primary roles.

A multidisciplinary team from Eurocopter España contributed to this Spanish NH90 programme milestone, which involved the first NH90 equipped with GE CT7-8F5 engines.

The Tiger HAD has a maximum takeoff weight of 6.6 metric tonnes, a more powerful MTR390 engine, an upgraded optical sighting system, an identification friend or foe (IFF) interrogator, improved ballistic protection and a new electronic warfare system.

2011

1 February: Eurocopter officially inaugurates its new North Sea Service Centre in Aberdeen, Scotland, providing a highly capable training, technical support and logistics facility in close proximity to helicopter operators who support the region’s vital oil and gas industry – as well as the emerging wind farm sector. A focal point of the North Sea Service Centre is its new EC225 helicopter full-flight simulator, which underscores Eurocopter’s commitment to investing in solutions that support its customers’ businesses. It also demonstrates the company’s dedication to enhancing flight safety and reducing operators’ costs.

Jean Boulet passes away at the age of 90

15 February: Jean Boulet passes away at the age of 90.  First hired in 1947 by the SNCASE, which would later become Sud Aviation and then the helicopter division of the Aerospatiale Group, Jean Boulet was one of the greatest pioneers in the history of rotorcraft flight testing.

Just a few highlights from his illustrious career include the first flights of the SE3000, the SE3101, the Alouette, Frelon, Puma, Gazelle families and the Lama. The records he established are no less impressive. Jean Boulet would set 17 world records during his career, including the record for the highest altitude flight. Behind the controls of a Lama, Jean Boulet reached an altitude of 12,442 metres on 21 June 1972. His record still stands today. Jean Boulet received the prestigious "X Supaéro" engineering degree from the French aeronautics institute in Toulouse, and chalked up more than 9,000 flight hours during the course of his career—including over 8,000 in helicopters. The courageous pilot was well-known for his love of flying and derring-do, but was also widely respected for his modesty and unassuming nature.

EC145 T2 unveiled to the public

6 March: The newest member of Eurocopter’s helicopter family is formally launched with the unveiling of its EC145 T2 – an evolved version of the popular twin-engine EC145 that incorporates new Arriel 2E engines, along with the company’s Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, upgraded main and tail rotor gearboxes, an innovative new digital avionics suite and a 4-axis autopilot.

Delivery of 1,000th Dauphin

19 April: Eurocopter delivers the milestone 1,000th Dauphin helicopter to India's Pawan Hans Helicopters. Pawan Hans’ helicopter is an AS365 N3 version, configured for offshore oil and gas drilling missions, and it brings the Indian operator’s fleet to a total of 35 Dauphins.

9 May: Eurocopter breaks ground for its new high-tech integrated development centre in Donauwörth, Germany. Development activities that had been located at Eurocopter’s Ottobrunn site will be integrated into the new building complex, which will have a surface area of 30,000 square metres and will be situated adjacent to the plant’s existing assembly facilities. Furthermore, it will offer the opportunity to concentrate activities that are divided between different locations both in Donauwörth and in Ottobrunn. Some 900 Eurocopter employees will move into this future-oriented innovative development centre.

12 May: The Eurocopter X3 hybrid helicopter exceeds its speed challenge: 232 knots (430 km/h) is attained in level, stabilised flight. The X3 utilises a Eurocopter Dauphin helicopter airframe equipped with two turboshaft engines that power a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers which are installed on short-span fixed wings. This hybrid configuration creates an advanced transportation system offering the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft and the full hover flight capabilities of a helicopter.

16 June: Inauguration of Eurocopter Global Logistic.

27 June: The KAI-EC Helicopter company is created.

1,000th EC135 delivered

20 July: Eurocopter officially hands over its 1,000th EC135 helicopter to the ADAC. The ADAC air rescue service, which has clocked up over 95,000 flight hours with its fleet of 32 EC135s, is satisfied with its performance.

25 October: Eurocopter begins construction of a new industrial facility in the Mexican state of Querétaro for production of aerostructures and components. This industrial facility – situated within the Aerotech Park adjacent to Querétaro International Airport – will be dedicated to the production and assembly of helicopter and aircraft components, such as tail booms, vertical stabilisers and doors. The facility will include a workshop for cutting, milling, pressing, surface treatment and the assembly of single parts and sub-assemblies, as well as a new benchmark helicopter maintenance centre for Eurocopter.

26 October: Declaration of compliance is received for the German and Italian variants of the NH90 in final configuration.

28 October : Declaration of compliance for the French and Belgian variants of the NH90 in final configuration.

Australian Aerospace delivers final Tiger to Defence

1 December:  Australian Aerospace delivers its final Tiger to the Australian Defence Force. Acquired under Project Air 87, the Tiger replaces Defence's existing rotary-wing force comprising Bell 206B-1 (Kiowa) reconnaissance and UH1-H (Iroquois) gunship helicopters. The Tigers had been deployed with the Army's 1st Aviation Regiment in Darwin, the Army Aviation Training Centre at Oakey in Queensland, and at RAAF Edinburgh, in South Australia.

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