Eurocopter, December 22, 2009 - Marignane, The Swiss federal procurement, technology and real estate competence centre, armasuisse, handed over the last of 20 EC635 helicopters to the Swiss Air Force. The delivery took place on December 17 at the Alpnach facility of RUAG Aerospace where the Eurocopter-licensed final assembly line for the Swiss EC635s is based. The Swiss Light Transport and Training Helicopter (LTSH) programme is thus completed on time and on quality.
The contract for the LTSH programme was signed in April 2006 and provided for the delivery of a total of 18 EC635 transport and training helicopters, plus two EC135s for the federal air transport service. The EC635s/EC135s will be replacing the Swiss Air Force’s Alouette III helicopters which will be taken out of service in 2010. By that time, the introduction phase of the EC635 will be completed and the fleet becomes fully operational.
The first four aircraft were manufactured at the Eurocopter’s Donauwörth plant, while the final assembly of the remaining 16 EC635s was performed by RUAG Aerospace in Alpnach, Switzerland. RUAG Aerospace will also be responsible for maintenance levels I and D and will support the Swiss Air Force’s fleet of EC635s/135s throughout the entire life cycle.
The EC635, which was certified in 2001, is the military version of the highly successful, light twin-engine EC135 chopper. It is among the most versatile helicopters currently available on the market and is designed for military and paramilitary deployments and public security operations including search and rescue missions, troop transport, observation, reconnaissance, training, and supply from the air. In addition, the EC635 is ideally suited for assistance during catastrophes, for humanitarian missions, for medevac purposes and to transport cargo, medical supplies and food.
The interior equipment of the helicopter can be easily changed. Users can select different seat layouts, or install medical equipment. The spacious 4.6 cubic-meter cabin is obstacle-free. Access to the cabin is through two lateral sliding doors or through two large rear doors – a feature that no competitor offers. Loading and unloading can be performed under totally safe conditions thanks to the two rear doors and the enclosed Fenestron™ tail rotor.
The top qualities of the EC635 include its outstanding effectiveness during operations, its ability to carry out day- or night-time missions including operations requiring night-vision goggles (NVG), and its high performance and modern maintenance concept. The on-condition maintenance principle applies to most of the main components, which maximizes availability for service.
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 2008, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.5 billion Euros, orders for 715 new helicopters, and a 53 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 10,000 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.