At the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) Show, Embraer announced a new customer for the EMB-314 Super Tucano. The Senegalese Air Force signed a contract for three aircraft and in-country training of pilots and mechanics by Embraer. Senegal will use the aircraft for border surveillance and internal security. The deal takes the number of the type ordered to 210.
Brazilian Air Force
Vector Aerospace Financial Services Ireland (VFS) is offering the medium- to heavy-lift market a fleet of customized Super Puma AS332Ls, including leasing and by-the-hour support. The offer is targeting the UN, NATO and EU markets. VFS was formed last year by Vector Aerospace, a provider of helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul services, to provide combined lease and support solutions.
Embraer Defense and Security and AEL Systems, the Brazilian subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems, signed an agreement to accept unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) developer Avibras as a shareholder in their UAS-focused joint venture, Harpia Systems.
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.
Eurocopter is now anticipating that a solution to the main gearbox problem that has grounded the North Sea fleet of EC225s will be available in April. According to Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling, the solution will at least be a “safety barrier.”
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has a corporate culture that emphasizes giving back, and some 1,600 graduates of its Colégio Embraer Juarez Wanderley, in São Jose dos Campos, are evidence that the industry–and the company–benefit from the effort. With that in mind, the company is opening its second school, in Botucatu.
With an eye to increased air traffic with soccer’s FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016, Brazil’s air navigation service provider DECEA (Departamento de Control do Espaço Aéreo) is upgrading its technology.
Offshore operator Bristow “entered into an agreement” yesterday to order 10 Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin helicopters and secured options for another 16. The move emerges as the operator is keeping 16 Eurocopter Super Pumas on the ground, following two controlled ditchings that affected the EC225 type in just six months. Both ditchings were caused by a failure of the main gearbox.
The busy North Sea oil and gas rig transportation sector lost nearly a third of its capacity on October 23, after CHC Helicopter suspended all flight operations using the Eurocopter EC 225. The ban, pending further investigation, came after a company Super Puma ditched in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland the day before. CHC competitors Bond and Bristow also grounded their Super Pumas after the incident.
The aircraft suffered a cracked gearbox shaft, according to the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) published a further “special bulletin” late last week in its investigation into the controlled ditching of a Bond-operated EC225 medium twin in May in the North Sea, confirming an earlier hint by Eurocopter that the emergency lubrication system gave the pilots a false failure warning.