Helicópteros do Brasil S.A.-Helibras, Eurocopter subsidiary in Brazil, signed on the 24th of December 2009 a contract to upgrade 34 AS365K Panther helicopters of the Brazilian Army Aviation. This is the largest service contract signed by the Brazilian subsidiary in more than 30 years of presence in the country. This Programme will lead to a new generation of Panther helicopters that benefit from the last technical evolutions developed by Eurocopter.
The objective is to extend the life of the current fleet by at least 25 years thanks to modernization (32 aircrafts) and reconstruction (2 aircrafts).
The upgrade consists of new Turbomeca Arriel 2C2 CG engine managed by a FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) with up to 15% increased continuous power and various contingency ratings. The cockpit will be enriched with new digital radio communication systems (Proline 21) and full Glass cockpit (various enlarged last state-of-art displays for Primary Flight, Navigation, Tactical and miscellaneous information).
The introduction of this new Man Machine Interface coupled with the 4-Axis Autopilot will significantly reduce the pilot workload for better night and day mission accomplishment.
Four aircrafts will be upgraded per year. Deliveries are expected to take place between 2011 and 2021.
The Panther fleet was purchased in 1988 by the Brazilian government when the Brazilian Army Aviation created the 1st Army Aviation Squadron (1º BAvEx) at Taubaté (Sao Paulo). They are now operated by the army as troop transport and light support platforms. The Panther is a variant of the Dauphin, a proven-powerful medium family well appropriate for each need.
The upgrade of the Panther helicopters will be performed by Helibras Engineering Center. This entity that was set-up to support the deal signed a year ago between the Brazilian government and a consortium formed by Helibras and Eurocopter for the local production of 50 EC725 helicopters for the Brazilian Armed Forces. As part of this upgrade, engineers, technicians and logistic staff from the Brazilian Army Aviation will be involved in all the stages of the programme and receive “on-the-job” training courses for technical know-how transfer.
Helibras is the only Brazilian helicopter manufacturer. The company is a subsidiary of Eurocopter, the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer which is owned by EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company). Founded in 1978, Helibras has facilities in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia and employs more than 300 highly skilled staff. It holds more than 50% of the Brazilian turbine helicopters market share. Helibras produces 30 aircraft per year in Itajubá (Minas Gerais) and covers the civil, government and military markets. Since its foundation, Helibras has delivered nearly 600 helicopters, of which more than 70% are the Esquilo. The 2008 turnover was 112.1 million USD, 22% higher than in 2007. More information: www.helibras.com.br
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