Eurocopter has taken over the aerospace activities of Heuliez, one of its suppliers, based in Cerizay, Western France. The 49 jobs will be regrouped in a newly created subsidiary, Hélicoptère Aérostructure Services. Since 2008 Heuliez has provided Eurocopter with “concepts derived from the automotive industry” for EC120, EC130 and EC175 doors, as well as the AS350 Ecureuil’s canopy.
The vital North Sea fleet of EC225 helicopters is expected to remain grounded until April, according to Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling. The aircraft have not flown since October, when gearbox failures on two different machines caused Norwegian and UK officials to prohibit over-water flights until a fix is identified.
Production of the Airbus Military C212 light transport is being transferred to Indonesia. The company signed a “strategic collaboration agreement” with PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) in mid-2011. The last aircraft to be assembled in Spain–a C212-400 version–was delivered to the Vietnam Marine Police in late December.
AgustaWestland is making a new push into South America. The Italian helicopter maker, part of the defense and industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica, signed a memorandum of understanding on January 21 to establish a joint venture with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer to build AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.
The delivery schedule for the Eurocopter EC175 medium twin has moved further to the right. The unidentified first customer is now expected to receive the first example in the fourth quarter, instead of September, according to a recent update from Eurocopter. In addition to the delay in avionics development, CEO Lutz Bertling cited the better-than-projected performance, which involves reopening certain certification files.
ATR has confirmed that it will further boost production this year and present a business case to its shareholders for a new 90-seat model.
While addressing journalists at the company’s base in Toulouse, southern France, CEO Filippo Bagnato said that ATR had recorded a “good” level of orders in 2012 (firm orders for 74 aircraft and options on 41), worth $2.6 billion at list prices. Meanwhile, revenue increased to a record $1.44 billion, up 11 percent on 2011 and with a big jump from $500 million in 2005.
Airbus Military still expects to deliver the first production A400M to the French Air Force in the second quarter. The milestone slipped by three months following a gearbox fault last summer, which interrupted function and reliability (F&R) flight-testing. To support its recent military intervention in Mali, France turned to the UK Royal Air Force C-17 fleet, which flew troops and equipment from Villacoublay to Bamako.
Northrop Grumman and EADS Cassidian conducted the first signals intelligence (Sigint) sensor test flight of the Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) on January 11. The aircraft flew for more than six hours and climbed to 54,000 feet in military-controlled airspace before returning to Manching Air Base in Germany, north of Munich. Bernhard Gerwert, Cassidian CEO, said the payload “showed excellent performance within the perfect interplay of the overall system.”
Last year proved another year of growth for Eurocopter, despite continued erosion of deliveries. Revenues were up by 15 percent, at €6.3 billion ($8.4 billion), but deliveries dropped to 475 aircraft, the lowest number since 2005 and short of the predicted “500 plus.”
Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with Brazilian aircraft company Embraer to establish a joint venture to manufacture AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.