Eurocopter, October 16, 2012 - by Gloria Illas - On September 25, Eurocopter delivered the first two AS550 C3 Fennec helicopters to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Defense under a contract signed in 2010 for seven of these helicopters and two AS350 B2s, which were delivered in December 2011. The contract contemplates delivery of two Fennecs per year until 2015.
The delivery ceremony held at Eurocopter’s Marignane facility in southern France was attended by the Ecuadorian Defense Minister Miguel Carvajal, the Chief of the Armed Forces Joint Command General Leonardo Barreiro, Ejército Commander Marco Vera and Carlos A. Jativa, Ecuadorian Ambassador to France, among other officials.
“The delivery of these two new helicopters represents a further step forward under the Ecuadorian Army’s ambitious modernization program,” declared the Ecuadorian Defense Minister, Miguel Carvajal. “Our Air Force will have a new generation of helicopters with higher performance levels and lower maintenance costs.”
The recent visit by the Ecuadorian delegation also provided an opportunity to continue discussions on an order for a second batch of aircraft, which would come in addition to the nine helicopters ordered in 2010. These orders are part of the MOD’s plans to progressively replace their Gazelle and Lama fleet, some of which have been in service for several decades.
“Eurocopter is grateful to the Ecuadorian Armed Forces for trusting in our range of products for more than 40 years now,” declared Rodolphe Henry, Eurocopter’s Vice President of Sales for Latin America. “The new helicopters are perfectly suited to the operational requirements of the Ecuadorian Air Force and will undoubtedly help to ensure the success of the different missions to which they are assigned.”
The Ecuadorian Armed Forces were one of the first armies in Latin America to integrate Eurocopter aircraft into their fleet, and they now have more than 20 Eurocopter helicopters, including two Ecureuil AS350 Bs, two Ecureuil AS350 B2s, three SA315 B Lamas, two SA316 B Alouettes, seven SA342 Gazelles and five AS332 Super Pumas. In the 80’s, the Ecuadorian Armed Forces were also one of the first Latin-American armies to integrate the French Army Light Aviation concept, in cooperation with the French Army. The fleet’s long operational life bears testimony to the reliability and durability of the Eurocopter range.
The new Fennecs will perform a wide range of missions including rescue, reconnaissance, drug enforcement and border patrol from their base at Porto Viejo. Modern, versatile and highly maneuverable, the AS550 C3 Fennec is perfectly adapted to the operational requirements in Ecuador, a country that combines high altitudes and extreme temperatures.
About Eurocopter: 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 20,000 people. In 2011, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 5.4 billion Euros, orders for 457 new helicopters and a 43 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.