Eurocopter unveils next-gen helicopters, eyes Indian market

Aviation major Eurocopter has unveiled its next-generation utility helicopters for growing markets in India and other Asian countries for parapublic missions, oil and gas airlift and emergency medical services.

The company is confident of getting certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency for both new helicopters -- EC175 and EC145 T2 -- in the first half of 2014, said a spokesperson for Eurocopter, a unit of European aerospace and defence giant EADS.

"We strongly believe that the EC175 and EC145 T2 will be well appreciated by customers in Asia as they cater to a wide range of mission capabilities in this region where heliborne services are increasing in demand," Derek Sharples, Eurocopter South East Asia CEO, told a group of visiting journalists from the Asia-Pacific.

The EC145 T2, a twin-engine light utility helicopter, can be used for various activities, including search and rescue, emergency medical services and VIP transport, said Jochen Schmid, sales manager at Eurocopter.

The rotorcraft, the latest member in the EC145 family, features new Arriel 2E engines and an innovative digital avionics suite with four-axis autopilot.

Eurocopter has received orders for over 90 EC145 T2 helicopters, the most significant contract being with the DRF (German Air Rescue) for 25 aircraft.

The medium-sized twin-engine EC175, which can carry up to 18 passengers, is designed for offshore transportation sectors like oil and gas duties and search and rescue missions.

It offers a combination of fast cruise speed and high safety levels, Schmid said.

Eurocopter recently organised demonstration flights of both helicopters in Bangkok. The flights were part of an Asian tour that covered Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

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