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 “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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.