Eurocopter technology transfer sees Brazilian-made countermeasure system integrated on military aircraft
Helibras has successfully completed flight testing of a chaff and flare countermeasures dispensing system for EC725 helicopters, completing a first-of-its-kind system integration project in Brazil and marking another key phase in Eurocopter’s contract to supply 50 of these Super Puma/Cougar family rotorcraft to the Brazilian armed forces.
Itajubá, Brazil, 17 September 2013
Six flights were performed with the self-protection system – which is used to detect and identify threats to the aircraft and confuse heat-seeking and radar-guided missiles – validating its operation and integration with the helicopter’s other functions. The system was developed by Helibras’ Engineering Center under the supervision of Chief Engineer Walter Filho.
Performed by a Brazilian Helibras crew of flight test pilot Patrik Correa and flight test engineer Dreyfus Silva, the airborne evaluations checked the dispensing of flares and chaff throughout the EC725’s entire flight envelope – using one of the helicopters produced for the Brazilian armed forces.
These flights occurred at Santa Cruz Air Base near Rio de Janeiro and were made possible through the cooperation of Helibras with the Brazilian Air Force, and coordinated through Brazil’s national Aerospace Technology and Science Department. The Brazilian Navy provided one of its Eurocopter Super Puma AS332 L1 helicopters to accompany the EC725 in flight, ensuring the tests were carried out safely.
The self-protection system’s in-country development is part of Eurocopter’s ambitious technology transfer program, enabling Brazilian defense organizations and companies to enhance their technical capabilities while opening significant growth opportunities for the nation’s industry. The program currently comprises several industrial cooperation projects and offset activities.
Helibras and its Eurocopter parent company have already invested in the technology transfer and offset efforts – an outlay that covers facilities, training programs and all necessary support and innovation involved in the ultimate build-up of helicopters on a new Helibras final assembly line at Itajubá in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. To date, seven EC725s for the Brazilian armed forces produced by Eurocopter in France have been delivered in the first phase of Brazil’s acquisition and an eighth will be delivered before the end of the year. The next batch of helicopters already is in Itajubá, with some of them undergoing partial build-up on the Helibras final assembly line. After testing and acceptance, they will be delivered beginning in early 2014. As part of the batch, one EC725 will be used for the development and integration of systems. This is the first helicopter to have been processed through every assembly station stage in the company’s Minas Gerais final assembly line.
The EC725 is Eurocopter’s latest member of its Super Puma/Cougar helicopter family. As a highly capable twin-engine helicopter in the 11-metric-ton category, it is designed for multiple missions, including combat search and rescue, long-range tactical transport, aeromedical transport, logistic support and naval duties.
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.