Helibras delivers the first three Eurocopter EC725 helicopters for the Brazilian Armed Forces
Eurocopter’s Helicópteros do Brasil subsidiary today delivered the initial three EC725s for Brazil’s armed forces, marking a key milestone in the program to supply 50 of these medium-sized, multi-role helicopters – which will lead to in-country production of the rotary-wing aircraft.
These first three helicopters were provided in a standard configuration and will undergo final outfitting in Brazil. Eurocopter and Helibras pilots and technicians performed delivery flight tests, which were followed by acceptance evaluations carried out by Brazilian Armed Forces representatives – whose personnel have been in training since May to operate and maintain the EC725s.
While these helicopters were built by Eurocopter in France and finalized in Helibras, Brazilian assembly of EC725 will begin in 2012 at Helibras’ new production facility in Itajubá. Their Brazilian-supplied content will increase to a minimum of 50 per cent through 2016, when the final EC725s from the 50-aircraft order are delivered.
The EC725 program will contribute significantly to the growth of Helibras’ industrial capacity and staff through an investment of KR$420 million, providing the subsidiary with manufacturing and maintenance capabilities for medium and large helicopters, and thereby becoming an important operation in South America for Eurocopter and its EADS parent company.
Established in 1978, Helibras currently has 450 employees and a plant area of 14,000 square meters at Itajubá, where it has been located since 1980. By the end of 2011, the Itajubá facility’s surface area is to nearly double, with its workforce increasing to more than 600.
Taking into account the anticipated growth in manufacturing and maintenance activities for military and civilian aircraft at Helibras, the company’s employee count is forecasted to reach 1,000 in three years. This planned growth includes the eventual production of the EC725 helicopter’s civilian EC225 version, which already is in service with Brazil’s oil sector.