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2006-2010

2006

31 March: The NATO Helicopter Management Agency qualifies the TTH German army variant of the NH90 for the German army. This qualification is a significant step towards the NH90’s entry into service with those armed forces that selected it for their military requirements. The NH90 TGEA variant for the German army includes a few customisations, mainly in the communications.

6 April: Eurocopter inaugurates its subsidiary in Russia, Eurocopter Vostok. The creation of the new subsidiary is accompanied by the implementation of a network of regional maintenance centres in cooperation with local organisations. The first maintenance centres will be opened in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Tyumen, and Sakhalin.

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

10 May: The operational debut of combat SAR EC725 helicopters with the French Armed Forces. The French Air Force, the EC725 launch customer, will ultimately operate six of the helicopters – four had already been delivered – for CSAR missions. The French Army will acquire eight EC725s for duties with the special operations squadron; seven had already been received by May.

10 May: The American Helicopter Society (AHS) presents the Grover E. Bell Award for technological achievements to Dr. Valentin Klöppel, programme manager of Aeromechanic and Flight Control Engineering at Eurocopter Deutschland, at the AHS Forum in Phoenix, Arizona. The award is given for leading the development of the world’s first helicopter flight with an electrical flap rotor control system. The Grover E. Bell Award, created in 1957, is awarded annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of research and experimentation in helicopter development. 

The Ecureuil AS350 B3 landed at 8850 meters on the summit of Everest with the pilot Didier Delsalle in 2005.

10 May: Eurocopter receives the American Helicopter Society’s World Record Trophy for the AS350 B3’s Mount Everest landing in 2005. Eurocopter was awarded the American Helicopter Society’s Igor Sikorsky International Trophy in Phoenix, Arizona, for achieving the high-altitude world record for the Mount Everest landing. The Igor Sikorsky International Trophy was created in 1961 by Sikorsky Aircraft and is awarded annually to the company that designed and manufactured a pure helicopter establishing an official record during the preceding calendar year. 

15 May: Creation of Eurocopter Training Services (ETS). By creating ETS – a wholly owned Eurocopter subsidiary - Eurocopter not only confirms its long-term commitment to training but also moves into high gear: the company now offers a much broader range of services with more staff dedicated to training.

5 June: The Korean government gives its final green light for the Korean Helicopter Programme (KHP), which involves the acquisition of 245 utility helicopters to be developed by Korea Aerospace Industries Limited in partnership with Eurocopter. The aim of this programme is to replace a fleet of aging American-manufactured corporate and transport helicopters. Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) will be the main contractor for this programme. As KAI’s first partner, Eurocopter will provide technical assistance for the development of the aircraft as well as sub-assemblies during the production phase.

The UH-72A Lakota of the US Army in the forest of the USA on December 20, 2006.

30 June: The US Army selects 322 UH-72A helicopters (a version of the EC145) for its light utility helicopter (LUH) programme. The value of the order is 170 million USD.

2 November: Dr. Lutz Bertling is appointed President and CEO of Eurocopter by the EADS Board of Directors. He succeeds Fabrice Brégier, who is appointed COO of Airbus.

11 December: EADS North America officially delivers the first UH-72A light utility helicopter to the US Army, marking the beginning of this major defence programme. The US Army had selected the UH-145 (renamed UH-72A by the Army) in July 2006.

13 December: Delivery of the first three NH90s to the German Army. The German Army is the first customer to take delivery of the NH90. The aircraft with the serial numbers TGEA02 and TGEA03 will be used for flight training at the German Army Air Corps Weapons School in Bückeburg, while serial number TGEA05 will be used to train maintenance staff.

2007

Inauguration of Eurocopter España

28 March: The new Eurocopter España site in Albacete is inaugurated. The plant was designed to incorporate the highest levels of technology in Europe, with the aim of developing a full cycle and permanent helicopter industry in Spain. The 150,000 square metre site will contain 33,000 square metres of covered production facilities.

Delivery of the first “high cabin” NH90

20 June: The first “high cabin” version of the NH90 is delivered to the FMV (Swedish Defence Materiel Administration). Sweden signed a contract for 25 NH90s in September 2001, covering 18 firm orders of variants for the tactical transport helicopter (TTH), which includes 13 tactical troop transport (TTT)/search and rescue (SAR) helicopters and five anti-submarine warfare (ASW), plus seven options. These helicopters are equipped with a complete new tactical mission system (TMS) developed by Saab in cooperation with NHIndustries. Of the 18 NH90s, 14 are to be assembled in Finland.
Sweden is the launch customer of the high cabin version (HCV) of the NH90, which features a usable cabin height increased by 24 centimetres, from 1.58 metres in the standard version to 1.82 metres. This variant allows operators and passengers to stand upright in the cabin.

27 August: The first UH-72A “made in America” is delivered to the US Army. To accommodate its UH-72A industrial activity, the Eurocopter Columbus factory expands to a total covered area of 325,000 square feet, and its workforce to approximately 330 employees. The construction of two large new buildings is completed, creating additional area for the Lakota’s assembly hall, flight line, paint shop, warehouse, administrative offices, flight operations and flight test engineering.

6 September: The Swedish Defence Agency (FMV) takes delivery of the first NH90 helicopter assembled in Finland. 

EUROCOPTER / EC135," L'Helicoptere of Hermes"

25 September: The “Helicopter by Hermès” is presented to the public at the NBAA trade show in Atlanta. Drawing on a unique blend of talents and skills, ‘l’Hélicoptère par Hermès’ is rooted in a straightforward concept: rise above narrow issues of style versus engineering, and restore the passenger to a position of pre-eminence.

HH65A US Coast Guard

8 October: The US Coast Guard reaches the one million flight-hour milestone with its Eurocopter HH-65 Dauphin fleet. From the helicopter’s first delivery in 1985, HH-65s have become a key element of Coast Guard aviation, with 96 Dauphin currently in the service’s inventory.

MoU signed between Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter

18 October: Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter reinforce their industrial cooperation through the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The objective of the MoU is to create a joint venture company for the worldwide promotion of the Korean utility helicopter (KUH), an eight metric-tonne class military/utility transport helicopter.

1 November: Eurocopter sets up a fully-owned subsidiary in the United Kingdom through the acquisition of McAlpine Helicopters Limited. Eurocopter previously held a 10% share in the British company, which will now become a wholly-owned subsidiary, Eurocopter UK Limited.

First flight of Tiger HAD

14 December: The first flight of the HAD version of the Tiger (HAD S/N 5001) takes place in Marignane (France). Compared to the HAP version – armed with an accurate turreted gun, MBDA Mistral air-to-air missile and rocket launchers – the HAD version also features a more powerful engine, Spike and Hellfire air-to-ground missile capabilities, an identification friend or foe (IFF) interrogator function, improved ballistic protection, as well as a new electronic warfare (EWS) system.

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%. 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.

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