Eurocopter, February 22, 2000 - Marignane, France - Following an invitation for bids open to all competitors, and a comparative assessment of five competing helicopters, the Spanish Defense Minister and Eurocopter signed by end 1999 a contract worth 100 million francs (15 million Euros), which set the terms for the supplying of 15 light single-engine EC 120B Colibri helicopters.
The deliveries will begin in July 2000 and be completed by June 2001.
These aircraft will be put in service at the base in Granada, and will be used in "ab initio" pilot training for the Spanish Air Force.
Besides the delivery of the fifteen helicopters, the contract also includes plans for supplying a training simulator, Computer Based Training, stock on consignment, and an initial stock for spare parts and tools.
With the acquisition of the EC 120B Colibri, the Spanish Air Force will now have at its disposal a lightweight aircraft that is easy to operate, and which also has demonstrative piloting capabilities and an important new technological advancement -- VEMD (Vehicle Engine Management Display) avionics. The Colibri also has low operating costs (reduced maintenance and consumption costs).
These aircraft will also receive a "package" of special options: dual controls, radio-navigation and radio-communication, landing skids with reinforced wear plates, cable-cutter capabilities, a sling, and a mirror.
The EC 120B Colibri has positioned itself ahead of the competition as a pilot training helicopter due to its size, its piloting capabilities, its simple design, and the large cabin visibility. The instrument panel is in parallel, and is perfectly adapted for left-right piloting with the center position of the VEMD.
Another advantage for training flights: it is possible to establish a report after each flight using information from the VEMD. This was the first time that the EC 120B Colibiri participated in an invitation for bids for this type of mission, and it has now proven that it is perfectly adapted to the pilot training market, which is a very promising one for this aircraft.
Eurocopter is a joint venture of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG and Aerospatiale Matra S.A. The two parent companies and CASA of Spain are merging to form the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), one of the three leading aerospace companies in the world.