6-Feb-2011 Source: Eurocopter
The AS550 C3 Fennec recently completed field trials with full mission equipment for the Indian Armed Forcesâ€™ reconnaissance and surveillance applications, demonstrating its capabilities as the successor to the countryâ€™s existing fleet of Indian-produced Cheetah and Chetak helicopters â€“ both which are based on Eurocopter rotary-wing aircraft.
â€œWe are very happy with the Fennecâ€™s performance during the recent trials, and are confident it is the ideal proposition as the rightful successor to the Cheetah and Chetak,â€ explained Rainer Farid, the Eurocopter Vice President of Sales for South Asia. â€œBy participating in the key competitive tenders with our best products, we hope to continue to support India in acquiring the right mission equipment and developing a strengthened aerospace industry.â€
The military-certified and combat-proven AS550 C3 Fennec has exceptional performance at high altitudes and in hot weather conditions. In addition to operating in Chileâ€™s Andes Mountains at altitudes over 5,000 meters, Fennec helicopters have landed on Mount Everest and the Sziachin glacier in the Himalayas. Last month, a Royal Malaysian Navy Fennec assisted in the rescue of a hijacked Malaysian chemical tanker and its crew, firing on the Somali piratesâ€™ mother ship to keep it at bay.
Along with the Fennecâ€™s presence at Aero India 2011, Eurocopterâ€™s participation will focus on the AS565 Naval Panther â€“ a version of the Dauphin family, which is well suited for requirements of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. The Panther is used around the world in a wide range of roles, including combat assault, fire support, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, and MEDEVAC.
Also spotlighted at Aero India 2011 will be Eurocopterâ€™s EC135 in the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) configuration. The EC135 is tailored for HEMS operations, with a large cabin, rear and slide access for easier stretcher loading, a protected tail rotor and the lowest noise signature in its category. It is the world reference for medical transportation and rescue, and the sales perspectives of this helicopter are high in India.
Eurocopter currently holds a leading position in the Indian military and civil markets, building this presence through strong partnerships. For the military sector, Eurocopter developed a very successful 40-year association in India through two cooperation agreements with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Today, HAL is a key element of Eurocopterâ€™s global supply chain, producing shipsets of airframe components for its Ecureuil/Fennec helicopters. In the civil market, Eurocopter has successfully formed partnerships for 25 years with Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited which is Eurocopter approved maintenance center on Dauphin. Eurocopter also approved the Indocopters maintenance center on AS350B3 and EC155.
Eurocopter inaugurated its Indian subsidiary in October 2010, reinforcing its support and services network throughout the country and further developing the companyâ€™s four-decade relationship with Indian industry. Eurocopter is the worldâ€™s first major helicopter manufacturer to establish such a subsidiary in India, which underscores its commitment to the development of this market.
â€œThe Indian helicopter industry has displayed great potential over the last few years with an annual growth rate of 20 percent,â€ explained Marie-AgnÃ¨s Veve, the CEO of Eurocopter India Pvt. Ltd. â€œGiven the countryâ€™s expanding economy, its size and challenging terrain â€“ as well as the industrial potential â€“ the future of this industry is very promising. Over the next few years, we hope to become the no. 1 supplier for the civilian, government and parapublic markets in India.â€
Eurocopter currently has 23 civil and government customers operating its helicopter products in India, with these rotary-wing aircraft performing duties that range from the support of offshore oil and gas drilling to VIP, corporate and passenger transportation. In addition to reinforcing its current presence, Eurocopter also is working with Indian institutions, companies and associations to develop new markets such as law enforcement, helicopter emergency medical services, disaster management and utility.