The first EC725 to be fully assembled in Brazil was handed over to the Brazilian navy on June 17, Airbus Helicopters said. The previous 11 EC725s received by the Brazilian armed forces were only partially assembled in Brazil, or supplied direct from Airbus Helicopters’ production line in France.
When the Brazilian armed forces decided to acquire 50 EC725s, Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) agreed to establish a manufacturing facility at the Itajuba facility of its local subsidiary, Helibras. The $220 million facility includes a final assembly line, test benches, a paint facility, training resources and an engineering center. Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury said the program remains on schedule and budget and highlighted the company’s “long-term commitment to the dual goal of enhancing Brazil’s heli-lift capabilities while developing a world-class rotorcraft industry in the country.”
The latest delivery is a “milestone in the transfer of technology and in nationalizing the EC725 production,” said Helibras CEO Eduardo Marson. Helibras has already signed contracts with 16 Brazilian companies for the supply of components, parts and services for the EC725. Ultimately, the intention is to have 50-percent domestic content in each helicopter.
The 11 EC725s already in service with the Brazilian air force (five); army (four) and navy (two) have logged a combined total of 5,000 flight hours.