Australian Aerospace Limited, supported by Eurocopter, the worldâ€™s largest helicopter manufacturer, brings an impressive line-up of aircraft from its rotary-wing family to the 2011 Australian International Air Show at Avalon.
A total of seven helicopters will be at Avalon, ranging in size from the smallest family member, the Eurocopter EC120B Colibri, to the largest, the worldâ€™s most advanced military helicopter in the 10 tonne class, the MRH90. Others in the static line-up display will include the sevenpassenger EC130B4, the light, multi-purpose EC135 twin-engine now in service with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and two versions of the six-passenger AS350 design. Additionally, a second EC130 will operate shuttle flights between Avalon and Melbourne.
Australian Aerospace is the Australia-Pacific regionâ€™s leading supplier of civil and military helicopters and aerospace services, including fixed-wing military maintenance and support. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eurocopter which, itself, is part of the European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Company (EADS).
In addition to its commercial helicopter activities, Australian Aerospace currently is assembling and delivering 22 Tiger ARH Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters to the Australian Army and 46 MRH90 Multi-Role Helicopters to the Army and Navy. It is also a contender for the new combat helicopter for the Australian Navy, offering the NH90 NFH Naval Frigate Helicopter now entering service worldwide.
â€œThe two years since the last Avalon Air Show has been a period of both achievement and challenge for Australian Aerospace,â€ says CEO of Australian Aerospace Dr. Jens Goennemann. â€œDuring this time we have significantly expanded our industrial footprint in Australia and the region.â€ The company now employs more than 1,100 people across 14 sites in Adelaide, Bankstown, Brisbane, Darwin, Ingleburn, Moorabbin, Oakey, Redcliffe, Richmond, Sydney, Townsville and Auckland.
â€œOn the Civil side of our business, Australian Aerospace continued to hold the no. 1 position in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, during what has been a period of challenging economic conditions,â€ continues Dr. Goennemann. â€œAustralian Aerospace managed to achieve its main economic targets, and while the market for new helicopters in Australia and New Zealand remained flat throughout 2010, the company still delivered 19 helicopters, which was in line with its projections.â€œ
â€œIn terms of future orders, 2011 could prove to be the most difficult year since the global financial crisis first hit, due to tight credit and conservative investment conditions and a sales pool of nearnew aircraft across the region,â€ Dr. Goennemann explains.
â€œOn the Military side, we have delivered the 15th Tiger ARH helicopter to the Australian Army and the 13th MRH90 helicopter to the Army and Navy,â€ he said. â€œWith the strong commitment of the Queensland Government, we believe we have also made a convincing case for the NH90 NFH to be chosen as the Navyâ€™s new combat helicopter. The NFH offers superior operational capabilities and a compelling industrial proposal.â€
To support operations at its helicopter Final Assembly Line at the Brisbane Airport, Australian Aerospace last year acquired full ownership of Brisbane-based Australian Aerospace Composites Pty Ltd, which produces ultra-strong, light-weight components for NH90, Tiger and Super Puma military helicopters, delivering into Eurocopterâ€™s global supply chain.
Australian Aerospace also teamed with the worldâ€™s largest tyre manufacturer, Michelin, to win a Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) contract to manufacture and supply tyres for the F/A18 Hornets, and the AP-3C Orion patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
â€œHowever, our Military business has not been without its challenges,â€ Dr. Goennemann said, â€œmost notably returning the MRH90 helicopter to normal operational status with the Australian Defence Force (ADF).â€
Following an incident in South Australia last year Australian Aerospace and Eurocopter have been working closely with engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce Turbomecca, to identify the cause and find a solution.
â€œWe have been successful in that endeavour, and the Commonwealth has accepted our technical analysis which will lead to a solution enabling the ADF to return its MRH90s to the full schedule of flying and testing,â€ he said.
Eurocopter aircraft on display at Avalon this year include:
NH90 MRH: The most advanced tactical troop transport helicopter of the 21st Century. Australia is acquiring a total of 46 MRH90s as part of the Governmentâ€™s plan to rationalise and harmonise the Defence Forceâ€™s helicopter fleets. A fly-by-wire, all-composite construction, medium-lift helicopter with the highest crash-worthy standards, it has a larger cabin than current ADF troop lift helicopters, a rear ramp, weather radar and forward-looking infra-red. The MRH90 can transport greater loads and carry more troops in adverse conditions, and being a true multi-role aircraft is suited to troop transport, search and rescue, special operations and counter-terrorism missions. A world leader in the 10-tonne class, the MRH90 is capable of carrying two pilots, two loadmasters and 18 combat troops up to 900km at speeds of up to 300km/h.
EC135P2: The ideal aircraft for basic and advanced helicopter aircrew training, being agile and responsive with multi-role capability. Offering high mission availability and low operating costs, the EC135, now in service with the ADF in Darwin, presents unrivalled safety on the ground and in flight. With its high-visibility, contemporary glass cockpit providing commonality with the ARH Tiger and MRH90, it is well suited to meet the requirement of the AIR9000 Phase 7 air crew training program.
EC120B: The light five seat single engine EC120 is a multipurpose helicopter designed to provide its users with mission flexibility. Modern and featuring advanced technology such as the VEMD, the new generation fenestron, crashworthy seats and fuel system, the EC120 is a safe, quiet and comfortable aircraft. With very low operating costs and outstanding performances, the EC120 is the most efficient aircraft in its class.
AS350B2: A highly-versatile six passenger, single-engine helicopter designed for aerial work, police missions, business transport or private use, due to its versatility and low operating costs.
AS350B3: This high-performance version of the AS350 is especially adapted to extreme conditions, such as very high altitudes and hot temperatures, and also the transportation of heavy loads. Seating up to six passengers, it makes an excellent fast, comfortable, business helicopter.
EC130B4: The new-generation seven passenger, single-engine aircraft well suited to private, tourist and charter missions. Equipped with a Fenestron tail rotor, the EC130B4 is the quietest helicopter in its class, offering low noise levels and new safety and comfort enhancements.
In addition to the static display (site EW-E13), large (scale 1/5) models of two other helicopters â€“ the NH90 NFH and an EC635 – will also be featured on the EADS free-standing exhibit inside Exhibition Hall A. The Australian Aerospace Chalet (site N-17), adjacent to the static display line, will also exhibit a scale model of the latest member of the Eurocopter family â€“ the exclusive EC145 Mercedes Benz, featuring an elegant and versatile interior styled on the Mercedes Benz GL Class motor vehicle. To highlight the partnership with Mercedes Benz, two vehicles will be on display with the helicopters.
Attention Media: The Australian Aerospace Media briefing will be held at the Australian Aerospace Chalet (N-17) on Thursday, March 03, commencing at 11:00 a.m.
About Australian Aerospace
Australian Aerospace Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eurocopter – a part of the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Group (EADS). Created in 2003 through the merger of Eurocopter International Pacific Limited and Australian Aerospace Pty Ltd, the company has evolved into a major defence supplier to the Australian Government. With more than 1000 staff in Australia and New Zealand and access to the financial strength and expertise of Eurocopter and the EADS Group, the company is About Australian Aerospacewell-positioned to manufacture and support civil and military helicopters in the Australia-Pacific region. In addition to its helicopter capabilities, Australian Aerospace has a long history of support to the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Currently it is assembling and delivering 22 Tiger ARH armed reconnaissance helicopters to the Australian Army and 46 MRH90 multi-role helicopters to the Army and Navy. It also provides support for the RAAF AP3C Orion reconnaissance aircraft and, until recently, the now retired Caribou transport fleet. Last year it commenced a through-lifesupport role for C-130J Hercules transports. The company is also involved in supporting the RAAFâ€™s new Airbus A330-based Multi-Role Tanker-Transport (MRTT) aircraft.
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 2010, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the worldâ€™s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.8 billion euros; orders for 346 new helicopters; and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the groupâ€™s products account for 33 percent of the total world civil and parapublic helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 27 subsidiaries and participations on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centers. There are 11,200 Eurocopter helicopters currently in service with nearly 2,900 customers in 147 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.
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