Eurocopter has delivered the first two Ecureuil AS350 B2 of nine helicopters contracted by the Ecuadorian Armed Forces in July 2010 under its extensive modernization program.
The two Ecureuil AS350 B2s were delivered to the Army Aviation Brigade at La Balvina, SangolquÃ in the presence of the Ecuadorian Defense Minister Javier Ponce, the Head of Armed Forces Joint Command Ernesto GonzÃ¡lez, Army Commander Patricio CÃ¡rdenas and various other Ecuadorian military officials and Eurocopter representatives.
â€œThe renewal of our helicopter fleet is a key feature of the Armyâ€™s modernization process,â€ declared Javier Ponce. â€œThis purchase will equip the Armed Forces with a new generation of helicopters with lower maintenance costs.â€
Meanwhile, Eurocopterâ€™s Vicepresident for Latin America, took the opportunity to thank the Ecuadorian Army â€œfor trusting in Eurocopterâ€™s range of products over the last 40 years. We are delighted to assist the Armed Forces with their renewal program and wish them every success in their operations with our helicopters.â€
The Ecuadorian Armed Forces were one of the first armies in Latin America to integrate Eurocopter aircraft into their fleet and they now have nearly 30 Eurocopter helicopters, including 2 Ecureuil AS350Bs, 2 A315B Lamas, 2 SA316 Alouettes, 19 SA342 Gazelles and 4 AS332 Super Pumas. The long operational life of this fleet, which includes helicopters with forty years of service, bears testimony to the reliability and durability of the Eurocopter range.
The new Ecureuils will replace the Lamas and will be used for army pilot training activities in Guayaquil as well as reconnaissance, SAR and firefighting, among other operations. The AS350 B2 is a light single-engine helicopter with an endurance of 3 hours at 140 knots and a capacity of 4 passengers and 2 crew members. Powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 engine, the Ecuadorian Armyâ€™s new Ecureuils are also equipped for night flight and include rescue hoists.
In addition to the recent arrival of the two AS350 B2s, the contract also includes seven Fennec AS550 C3s, which will in turn progressively replace the Gazelles, to be delivered by 2015. Modern, versatile and highly maneuverable, the Fennec AS550 C3 is perfectly adapted to the operational requirements in Ecuador, a country that combines high altitudes and extreme temperatures.
Since its first flight in 1974, the Ecureuil family has achieved sales of more than 5,000 aircraft all over the world and 22 million flight hours
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