Eurocopter and an unnamed UK operator have proposed leasing civil EC 225 medium-lift helicopters to the British Ministry of Defence as an interim solution to bridge the gap in capability aggravated by the British armed forces’ engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. The plan would provide new, high-performance helicopters to the armed forces as an alternative to upgrading and maintaining older helicopters now in service.
Fires are a huge and growing problem in Spain and its islands, as they are throughout southern Europe. As many as 250 aircraft–the vast majority of them helicopters–are currently involved in fighting bush and forest fires around Spain. One of the country’s biggest contributors to this annual effort is Helisureste (HS), based in Alicante on the country’s Mediterranean coast.
The first of four Super Lynx 300 maritime helicopters destined for South Africa is on display here at the Farnborough airshow at Finmeccanica’s Outside Exhibit area (OE2).
Following a memorandum of agreement between the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army in early June, Lockheed Martin, Global Military Aircraft Systems (GMAS) and Team JCA this month are submitting revised proposals for the Pentagon’s Joint Cargo Aircraft requirement. Initial proposals were for a new tactical airlifter that will replace the U.S.
AgustaWestland has won a 25-year deal to support the UK fleet of Merlin Mk1 maritime and Mk 3 transport helicopters. The integrated Merlin operational support (IMOS) contract will be worth €450 million ($832 million) in the first five years. It is typical of the new logistics partnering arrangements being introduced by the MoD in the UK, and beginning to be copied elsewhere.
The UK Ministry of Defence is spending more than $1.35 billion to upgrade the Merlin Mk 1 large maritime helicopter which has been operational for less than five years. The upgrade is necessary because the Merlin has been so long in development that its computer systems have become obsolete. It also signifies a determination to maintain helicopter systems engineering skills in the UK.
Servizi Elicotteristici Italiani, better known as SEI (exhibiting here at parent company Mercaer’s booth, No. 1047), has long been the shop of choice for helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland when it comes to completing executive/VIP interiors. Now SEI is expanding its capabilities to include very light jets and searching for a U.S. site to handle VIP helicopter cabin work.
The Polish government has launched a call for tenders for 23 EMS light-twin helicopters. The contract is worth $160 million, Polish Web site pb.pl reported. AgustaWestland, Eurocopter and PZL Swidnik are competing. Eurocopter confirmed it is offering the EC 135, while Agusta is pitching the Grand. Deliveries are pegged for no later than 2010.
As AIN went to press Eurocopter CEO Fabrice Brégier was about to be officially named COO at troubled sister company Airbus. He had been at this position for 3.5 years. Widely expected to succeed Brégier was Lutz Berling, senior vice president in charge of government programs. He would be the first German to head the Marignane, France-based manufacturer, although Eurocopter was founded as a Franco-German company.
Bob Fore works for AirScan, a contractor to the U.S. government supporting range activities in the Marshall Islands, a vast isolated archipelago sprinkled about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii and 1,400 miles east of Guam. The company is based with the U.S. Army on Kwajalein Atoll, otherwise known as the Reagan Test Site (RTS).