Helibras delivers first three EC725s to Brazilian military

Helibras delivers first three EC725s to Brazilian military

20-Dec-2010 Source: Eurocopter

Eurocopter’s Helicópteros do Brasil (Helibras) subsidiary today delivered the initial three EC725s for Brazil’s armed forces, marking a key milestone in the program to supply 50 of these medium-sized, multi-role helicopters – which will lead to in-country production of the rotary-wing aircraft.

These first three helicopters were provided in a standard configuration and will undergo final outfitting in Brazil. Eurocopter and Helibras pilots and technicians performed delivery flight tests, which were followed by acceptance evaluations carried out by Brazilian Armed Forces representatives – whose personnel have been in training since May to operate and maintain the EC725s.

While these helicopters were built by Eurocopter in France and finalized in Helibras, Brazilian assembly of EC725 will begin in 2012 at Helibras’ new production facility in Itajubá. Their Brazilian-supplied content will increase to a minimum of 50 per cent through 2016, when the final EC725s from the 50-aircraft order are delivered

The EC725 program will contribute significantly to the growth of Helibras’ industrial capacity and staff through an investment of KR0 million, providing the subsidiary with manufacturing and maintenance capabilities for medium and large helicopters, and thereby becoming an important operation in South America for Eurocopter and its EADS parent company.

Established in 1978, Helibras currently has 450 employees and a plant area of 14,000 square meters at Itajubá, where it has been located since 1980. By the end of 2011, the Itajubá facility’s surface area is to nearly double, with its workforce increasing to more than 600.

Taking into account the anticipated growth in manufacturing and maintenance activities for military and civilian aircraft at Helibras, the company’s employee count is forecasted to reach 1,000 in three years. This planned growth includes the eventual production of the EC725 helicopter’s civilian EC225 version, which already is in service with Brazil’s oil sector.

Helibras’ new facility at Itajubá is being built to eco-efficient sustainability criteria, including the use of recyclable materials, modular structures with low maintenance costs, solar panels, natural lighting, air circulation circuits and rainwater recovery systems.

For the Brazilian Armed Forces’ 50-helicopter contract, a team representing the country’s Army, Navy and Air Force is now present at Helibras’ facility in Itajubá. Called the Group of Monitoring and Control (GAC), it oversees all topics related to the new EC725s, and will be composed of 16 members at the peak of in-country manufacturing for the helicopters. Its responsibilities range from quality control and material inspection to the delivery reception of the EC725s.

In the commitment of Helibras and Eurocopter to provide manufacturing activity for the Brazilian industry as part of the Brazilian Armed Forces’ EC725, the first contracts have been signed with suppliers in the country. The initial companies committed to provide parts for the Brazilian EC725s are InbraAerospace, a manufacturer of composite components and Toyo Matic, which produces machining parts for the aeronautical industry.

Inbra will supply composite tail boom fairings as well as intermediary structures in composites. Toyo Matic will machine the main rotor hub sleeve – a complex part that will be produced using 4- and 5-axis machines.

The EC725 being acquired by the Brazilian Armed Forces is the latest version of Eurocopter’s Super Puma/Cougar family. This 11-metric-ton medium twin-engine helicopter is equipped with a five-blade rotor and a large capacity fuel tank, providing enhanced performance and a greater flight endurance. It was designed to perform multiple missions, such as combat search and rescue, long-distance tactical airlift, air ambulance transport, logistics support and naval missions.

About Helibras (www.helibras.com.br)
Helibras is the only Brazilian manufacturer of helicopters. It is subsidiary of the Eurocopter Group, the largest global supplier of aerospace industry, and is a division of EADS. Supplying more than 50 percent of the Brazilian turbine helicopter fleet, Helibras has been in Brazil since 1978, with sites in Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. Its production facility, which employs more than 400 professionals and has capacity to produce 36 aircraft per year, is located in Itajubá (MG), where various models of aircraft are built, meeting the requirements of civil, governmental and military sectors. Since its foundation, Helibras has delivered more than 500 helicopters in Brazil, of which 70 percent are the Ecureuil model. In 2009, the company had a turnover of R7 million.

About Eurocopter (www.eurocopter.com)
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s no. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 25 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in more than 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.

About EADS (www.eads.com.br)
EADS is a global leader in segments of aerospace, defense and related services. In 2009, it generated revenues of €42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119,000. In addition to Eurocopter, the Group includes Airbus, Airbus Military, EADS Astrium, and the Cassidian defense and security division. In Brazil, besides Helibras, EADS is present through EADS Brazil, EADS Secure Networks Brazil and representing offices of Airbus Military and Spot Image. It is also shareholder of Equatorial Sistemas.

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