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