Highlighting the 20th anniversary of the founding of Eurocopter, Marignane, France-based Eurocopter is introducing the latest evolution in its product line here at Heli-Expo’12. Eurocopter evolved from the 1992 merger of the helicopter divisions of Aerospatiale of France and Daimler-Benz Aerospatiale Aerospace of Germany.
The new variant leads a list of innovations from the company, and will be unveiled Sunday at noon at the Eurocopter exhibit stand (Booth No. 1917), along with an announcement of launch customers. The ceremony will be led by president and CEO Lutz Bertling.
“Eurocopter is maintaining its commitment to evolve its product line every year, and 2012 is no exception, as we unveil our latest family evolution at Heli-Expo,” Bertling said.
Additional innovations the company is showcasing here include its Short Range Optical Detection System, which uses inexpensive automotive-type radar sensors; a hybrid helicopter concept for improved flight safety; a high-efficiency, landing gear aimed at increasing helicopter maximum takeoff weights and reducing maintenance costs; and advanced manufacturing techniques for producing lighter weight structures, including friction-stir-welding, solid-state joining technology, and perform resin-transfer-molding technology.
“Eurocopter has applied creativity and innovation during the past 20 years to expand and improve its helicopter family, and this will continue in the next two decades as we provide the best in performance, operating efficiency and cost effectiveness for our customers,” Bertling said.
Helicopters on display at the Eurocopter stand include the EC175, scheduled to enter service this year (see pilot report on page 36); the new EC145 T2 version of Eurocopter’s popular twin-engine EC145, equipped with the Helionix avionics suite and Stylence cabin interior; and the EC135 T2e, the evolved version of the twin-engine EC135 family.
Eurocopter believes that Helionix, which is standard in the EC145 T2 and EC 175, represents a significant advance in avionics architecture and human-machine interface. It includes LED displays for improved image quality, crew-alerting capability an on-demand vehicle monitoring system, a four-axis dual-duplex automatic flight control system, and enhanced situational awareness with optional digital map, synthetic vision system and electronic flight bag.
Eurocopter is also highlighting its strategy to become the industry standard for customer support and service with its display of the EC135/EC145 avionics trainer, and demonstrations of the company’s Keycopter on-line customer-service portal.
The emphasis on product evolution and innovation appears likely to pay off. Eurocopter recently announced it expects helicopter deliveries to enter a new growth phase in 2012. “Our assumption is very strong growth in the next years,” Bertling said. The company estimates its own revenues will reach €10 billion ($13 billion) by 2020, up from €5.4 billion ($7 billion) in 2011.