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2001-2005

2001

The H225M excels in a full range of military missions, including special operations, combat search and rescue, tactical transport, and casualty and medical evacuation.

15 January: The new EC725 helicopter is presented to the French Air Force Chief of Staff. This new version will be able to carry a much higher military payload, and will also have an increased civil range of action compared to the MK2 version of the Cougar / Super Puma.
Distinguishing the EC725/EC225 from the MK2 version are an entirely new main rotor, a reinforced main gearbox, new engines, and a new system of integrated displays and avionics.

11 February: Eurocopter delivers the 3,000th aircraft in the Ecureuil / Squirrel / AStar / TwinStar family. It's an EC130 B4 for Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. With the EC130 B4, Eurocopter introduces a brand new product to the market. The EC130 B4 has 23% more cabin space than the other Ecureuil / Squirrel / AStar versions. It can accommodate seven comfortable seats, or eight seats in medium-density configuration. An additional strong point is its extraordinary cabin visibility thanks to its large canopy surface. Shared with the AS350 B3, its Starflex-type main rotor, main gearbox and engine (the proven Turbomeca Arriel 2B with a maximum takeoff power of 847 shp) ensure the helicopter's high level of performance.

Creation of the Eurocopter Romania subsidiary

21 June: Eurocopter Romania, based in Brasov, is created as a subsidiary owned by Eurocopter (51%) and Industria Aeronautica Româna (49%). 

10 August: The Tiger is selected by the Australian Minister of Defence in the frame of the AIR 87 project. 

Airbus-built ARH Tiger is a state-of-the-art armed reconnaissance helicopter that increase Australian Army capabilities

21 December: The Eurocopter Tiger ARH contract is awarded in Australia. From December 2004, Eurocopter International Pacific will deliver 22 Tiger ARHs. The Tiger ARHs are expected to be assembled in Queensland at Australian Aerospace Pty Limited, the recently acquired subsidiary of EADS in Australia.

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.

July 25, 2002: The front and rear NH90 fuselage sections have been delivered to Eurocopter Deutschland facility in Donauwörth (Munich), which produced the centre one, for the imminent fuselage junction of the first serial production NH90.

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.

Side view of a Tiger HAD in flight

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.

2005

18 March: The first HAP Tiger is delivered to the French Army. The initial Tiger helicopters will be assigned to the Franco-German Tiger Training Academy at Le Luc in southern France.

The weapons system of the Tiger HAP combat support helicopter includes a 30 mm turret-mounted gun (GIAT) slaved to the pilot's and gunner's helmet-mounted sight, rockets (TDA), and Mistral air-to-air missiles (MBDA).

The first HAP Tiger, delivered to the French Army

18 March: The first “high cabin” version of the NH90 conducts its maiden flight. The maiden flight lasts 55 minutes and is performed by a Eurocopter flight test crew consisting of Philippe Boutry (pilot), Denis Trivier (flight engineer), and Jean-Claude Rabany (flight mechanic). At the end of the flight, the crew declares their satisfaction with the behaviour of the aircraft. The Swedish high cabin version of the NH90 increases the usable cabin height by 24 centimetres, from 1.58 metres in the standard version to 1.82 metres. The high cabin NH90 also offers an increase in volume of 2.5 cubic metres, providing a total volume of 17.5 cubic metres. The increased cabin height means that missions requiring on-board operations, such as SAR work, can be performed in a more comfortable environment.

 

6 April: The first UHT Tiger is delivered to the German Army. The helicopter will start operations in the Franco-German Army Aviation Training Centre at Le Luc in southern France.

Record-breaking landing by the AS350 B3

14 May: At 7h08 (local time), a serial Ecureuil/AStar AS350 B3 piloted by Eurocopter test pilot, Didier Delsalle, lands at 8,850 metres (29,035 ft) on the top of Mount Everest (Nepal). As required by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (International Aeronautical Federation), the aircraft remains on the ground for more than two minutes on the “top of the world” before flying back to Lukla. This tremendous achievement breaks the world record for the highest altitude landing and takeoff ever, which sets an ultimate milestone in the history of aviation.

Maiden flight of first Patria NH90

13 July: The first Patria-assembled NH90 helicopter makes its successful maiden flight in Halli, Jämsä. Patria would assemble 50 NH90 helicopters as a subcontractor of Eurocopter S.A.S., Marignane, France. This first helicopter from the Patria assembly line would ultimately be delivered to the Finnish Defence Forces.

8 September: An aircraft equipped with a rotor control system with servo-flaps conducts its maiden flight in Donauwörth (Germany). The primary objective of this new type of control method is to reduce the relatively high sound level of the rotor blade tip vortices to levels significantly below those of modern Eurocopter helicopters, with limit values already below the required standards.

At the same time, the vibrations affecting components and passengers alike are reduced in order to increase passenger comfort during the flight and expand the capacity of future helicopters, thereby promoting commercial use of these aircraft.

Signature of EC175 cooperation agreement

5 December: The presidents of AVIC Il (Harbin Aircraft Industry Group) and Eurocopter sign the EC175 cooperation agreement. Both companies will invest 300 million euros to develop the new helicopter. The EC175 developed by Eurocopter and AVIC II will feature the very latest technological advances in the cockpit and avionics, plus the five-bladed Spheriflex® main rotor and high energy absorbing airframe.

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