26-Jun-2013 Source: Eurocopter
Eurocopter today continued its participation at the 50th Paris Air Show by signing the first 22 partnership agreements with innovative French companies selected to form part of the Helicopter of the Future program. These firms will come together in a technological and industrial initiative set up as part of an innovation program launched by the French government two years ago.
Designed to support the industrial helicopter program and provide a framework for the development of innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the Helicopter of the Future program was officially initiated in 2011 as part of the Investments in the Future initiative. Two years later, some 22 companies – 12 of them SMEs selected for their expertise and innovative solutions – have joined the group charged with the task of building the technological platforms that will form part of Eurocopter’s future aircraft product range.
This project brings to fruition the agreement that the French government and Eurocopter signed with a view to bringing French manufacturers together in an ambitious research program. Overseeing the program are the French National Aerospace Research Establishment (ONERA), which is responsible for implementing the agreements; the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), which is supervising it; and the French armament procurement agency (DGA), responsible for ensuring the technical objectives are achieved.
The Helicopter of the Future program is the bedrock of an ambitious research and technology initiative. Embracing sustainable development as a core concept, the new generation of helicopters will draw specifically on a series of new approaches linked to eco-design, human-machine interface, on-board equipment and flight performance.
After signing the agreements on behalf of Eurocopter, Joseph Saporito, Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain, said: “The Helicopter of the Future will be cleaner and quieter with better communications and improved performance. Our Group is looking to attract the most daring and innovative companies. That is why it is committed to providing a framework for a program that will have Eurocopter at its core and to supporting SMEs all over France in a lasting relationship. It is a commitment to the future; one that will create jobs and bring international success for each of our partners.”
Today’s event came at the end of a request for proposals from SMEs by Eurocopter in conjunction with the PEGASE center of excellence, which had the task of attracting applications and organizing meetings where the most innovative companies were selected. Having received more than 300 replies and published 89 calls for competencies between 2012 and 2013, the project partners have now signed 20 agreements with 22 companies, 60 percent of them SMEs.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 22,000 people. In 2012, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 6.3 billion Euros, orders for 469 new helicopters and a 44 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s helicopters account for 33 percent of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. Eurocopter’s strong international presence is ensured by its subsidiaries and participations in 21 countries. Eurocopter’s worldwide network of service centers, training facilities, distributors and certified agents supports more than 2,900 customers. There are currently more than 11,780 Eurocopter helicopters in service in 148 countries. Eurocopter offers the most comprehensive civil and military helicopter range in the world and is fully committed to safety as the most important aspect of its business.