Eurocopter, February 16, 2010 - Marignane,
Eurocopter’s heavy-duty family of helicopters, the AS332 Super Puma/AS532 Cougar and their latest-generation derivatives, the EC225/EC725, have accumulated a total of four million flight hours in service. To date, 740 civil and military variants of this product family are in service with customers around the world, mostly serving in offshore oil and gas services in the harsh conditions of the North Sea, SAR (Search and Rescue) and VIP transport, as well as demanding military missions such as Combat SAR and troop transport in hostile environments.
Super Puma family helicopters are in operation in more than 20 countries from extremely low temperatures in Norway to extremely high temperatures in North Africa and in the toughest maritime environments. This unrivalled experience combined with proven technological concepts provides these helicopters with an unmatched warranty of success in life saving as well as oil and gas missions. The result is an operational availability of the Super Puma family that exceeds, on average, 98 percent.
In 2009 alone, a total of 81 helicopters from this product family were sold. Renowed customers of the various civil variants of the family by now include Awan Inspirasi, Bond Offshore Helicopters, Bristow Helicopters, CHC, the Chinese Ministry of Transport, COHC, ERA Helicopters, German Federal Police, Héli-Union, Hong Kong Government Flying Service, Japanese Coast Guard, MHS, Sonair, South Korean National 119 Rescue Service, SSFC and SWHS. Military customers include the Brazilian Armed Forces, Bulgarian Air Force, French Army Aviation and Air Force, German Air Force and Mexican Armed Forces.
As the most recent newcomer to the Super Puma/Cougar family, the civil-certified EC225 and its military variant, the EC725, benefit from the experience of this large number of operators.
The EC725 helicopter program was initially launched in response to a French Air Force requirement for a helicopter specifically designed for Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions. The very demanding mission capabilities required by the Air Force account for the remarkable performance of this helicopter and its success in the international market. The key requirements were:
- Long range and high payload
- All weather capability and autonomous navigation system
- High level of systems redundancy and high survivability to warrant mission success
- State of the art Man-Machine Interface to facilitate crew work and to improve situation awareness and mission effectiveness in the harshest environments.
With a take-off weight of 24,251 lbs (11,000 kg), the EC725/225 carries an impressive fuel load of 5,000 lbs, guaranteeing a flight time of 5 hours. In addition to new Makila 2A1 engines with a stronger main gearbox and a new five-bladed main rotor, the EC725/225 features a state of the art glass cockpit featuring six large and redundant multifunction displays.
Another special feature of the EC725/225 is its auto-pilot (AFCS) with unique capabilities. The EC725/225 AFCS is the first to be specifically designed for helicopter flight characteristics rather than being derived from fixed-wing aircraft auto-pilots. The precision and stability provided are already setting new standards of mission capacity and safety during French Air Force Personnel Recovery and CSAR missions as well as in demanding civilian SAR operations. As an example, the EC725/225 will permit automatic hoisting on land or at sea with unrivalled precision in conditions impossible for other aircraft.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 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 18 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.