Three contenders for the U.S. Army’s as-yet-undefined armed aerial scout (AAS) requirement–Bell Helicopter, Boeing and EADS North America–have just completed a series of flight demonstrations for Army evaluators who are studying alternatives to the aging OH-58D Kiowa Warrior for manned reconnaissance. They reported the results at the Association of the U.S.
Eurocopter’s three-year effort to revamp its EcoStar was unveiled earlier this year with a strong initial order book for more than 100 helicopters. The company expects certification of the $2.5 million single-engine EC130T2 later this year. “We listened to our customers,” said Janick Blanc, Eurocopter vice president for light helicopter programs.
Apparently, the company got an ear full.
The FAA has issued what could be an expensive tail-boom inspection airworthiness directive for the more than 100 Eurocopter EC130B4s in service in the U.S., most of them with air-tour operators. The AD mandates inspections for cracks in the region where the tail boom meets the fenestron assembly. If cracks are found the boom must be replaced at an estimated cost of $64,250 per helicopter.
Eurocopter recognized its U.S. affiliate American Eurocopter as the regional hub for MRO for the Eurocopter EC135 and EC145 for North American and Latin American customers. American Eurocopter can provide up to D-level MRO for EC135 and EC145 airframes, blades and dynamic components. The company also provides full service and support for the AS350, EC120, EC130, EC155 and AS365. “This designation reflects our substantial investment in support and services in recent years and our close cooperation with Eurocopter,” said Marc Paganini, president and CEO of American Eurocopter.
Eurocopter expects its participation in this year’s Dubai Air Show to underscore its competitiveness in the Middle East, as well as the EADS subsidiary company’s dedication to a continued local presence through partnerships and cooperation.
As the Eurocopter EC145 T2 light twin helicopter has completed “hot and high” testing, the manufacturer has released “promising” performance estimates.
Eurocopter is upgrading most of its product range, with the goal of providing improved performance and reduced costs. The manufacturer is reporting progress on the developments of the AS350B3e Ecureuil (AStar), EC135T2e/P2e, EC145T2, AS365N3e and Super Puma L1e/C1e. All were announced at Heli-Expo 2011 in February.
Eurocopter has fully launched the replacement program for its AS365/EC155 Dauphin and is targeting 2016 for entry into service for the first iteration, with a more advanced version to enter service several years later. Codenamed X4, the helicopter will feature a radically new cockpit, fly-by-wire controls and low-noise main rotor blades.
The pair of “low-observable” Sikorsky Black Hawks used in the raid by U.S. forces against terrorist Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound May 2 were kitted with a variety of stealth and radar-defeating features that had been in development since the 1970s, and maybe longer. The helicopters came to light after one had to be left behind and intentionally detonated after apparently clipping a compound wall and making a hard landing.