The U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate selected Bell Helicopter Textron, a Boeing-Sikorsky team and AVX Aircraft among contractors invited to participate in the joint multi-role technology demonstrator (JMR-TD) program with new rotorcraft designs, the companies confirmed. They expect the Army will award JMR-TD contracts by September. The first demonstrator flights are planned in 2017.
New details on the still-to-be-certified Eurocopter EC175 medium-twin helicopter program have emerged, including unexpected Chinese influence. Although the EC175/AC352 is a 50-50 joint program with China’s Avicopter, the Marignane, France-based manufacturer had long made it clear the two certification processes were distinct.
Bell delivered eight new helicopters in Russia last month, including five 429 light twins and a 407GX single. Two of the 429s will be configured for medevac for use in the St. Petersburg area.
Sikorsky has delivered the first of two VIP S-92s to the Turkish National Police for service to the Turkish Prime Ministry, under a contract signed in 2011. The new helicopters will support the head-of-state function, currently served by one S-92.
Eurocopter has inaugurated its Systemhaus, a €100 million ($130 million) helicopter development center built at its existing site in Donauwörth, Germany. With a total floor area of 300,000 sq ft, it is the new workplace for about 900 employees previously located in Ottobrunn. The facility features research and test facilities that will be used notably for the still-under-wraps X9 program.
Eurocopter (Booth 7050) unveiled a mockup of the executive version of its EC175 medium twin helicopter at EBACE and is also offering an even more luxurious VIP version.
Eurocopter revealed a mockup of the executive version of its EC175 medium-twin helicopter today at EBACE and is also offering an even more luxurious VIP version. Prices for the new variants are around €17 million ($22 million) and vary with options. The VIP version is some €500,000 ($650,000) more expensive than the executive option.
In the first quarter of 2013, revenue at Eurocopter fell by 13 percent, to €1.04 billion ($1.35 billion), with deliveries of 58 helicopters during the three-month period. Parent company EADS attributed the downward performance to the ongoing “technical problems with the Super Puma/EC225 fleet.” Affected have been both deliveries and the service revenue generated by helicopter operations. In the first three months, Eurocopter booked net orders for 51 helicopters, the company said.
An announcement made this week by cabin equipment manufacturer Vision Systems hints that Eurocopter will unveil a VIP variant of the EC175 medium twin at EBACE, which opens on Tuesday in Geneva. Vision Systems said it provided a Wi-Fi network, a tablet application, ceiling displays for movies and electronically dimming windows–all integrated in a cabin management system–for the EC175 that will be displayed at Eurocopter’s EBACE booth.
The U.S. Navy restarted the VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program by issuing a final request for proposals on May 3. The next day, Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) officially welcomed a new type into the presidential fleet–the MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor–which will be used in a support role to carry White House staff and reporters following the President.