Eurocopter’s Helibras subsidiary inaugurates assembly facility for EC725/EC225
Eurocopter marked a major development for Brazil’s aeronautical industry today with the inauguration of its Helibras subsidiary’s new rotary-wing center of excellence in Itajubá, Minas Gerais.
Helibras’ new Itajubá plant will produce, assemble and maintain the EC725s being acquired by Brazil’s three armed forces. The plant is part of a €1.8 billion agreement signed by Helibras and the Brazilian Defense Ministry in 2008 for acquisition of the EC725s to be operated by Brazil’s three armed forces – which are to include progressively 50 percent Brazilian-made content.
The new industry capabilities will also enable Helibras to build the civilian EC225 version, providing locally-manufactured helicopters for off-shore oil and gas operations, as well as other applications.
In addition to establishing a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, this center will create the framework for potential future helicopter development in the country, along with the evolution of its aviation industry supply chain.
Total investment in the new Helibras Itajubá industrial site is €160 million, which includes creation of the facility, establishment of the various elements necessary for helicopter production, as well as the organization and operation of related training programs for personnel.
Helibras already has delivered the first four EC725s to Brazil – which were assembled at Eurocopter’s production site in France, to be followed by the Itajubá-built helicopters. The first of these are today in the Final Assembly Line in the new Brazilian facility, including an EC725 that will serve as the development and systems integration aircraft for the in-country development of the Utility and Naval mission systems. 2017 is the deadline to deliver the 50 aircraft.
Helibras already has signed contracts with 15 Brazilian companies for the supply of EC725 components, parts and services. It also is providing training for pilots, mechanics, technicians and engineers during activity in both France and Brazil as part of the technology transfer agreement for the helicopter acquisition.
The new Helibras Itajubá production facility was built using state-of-the-art engineering, incorporating the most modern construction materials and sustainability concepts. As examples, the main building’s architecture favors the use of natural light for interior illumination, while solar panels provide electricity and translucent industrial shutters facilitate ventilation.