Paris. Airbus Helicopters and China’s Avicopter have signed a joint agreement for the production of 1,000 new-generation EC175/AC352 rotorcraft.
An agreement was signed between the two on March 26 in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President François Hollande at the Elysée Palace in Paris.
Avicopter is the helicopter business unit of China Aviation Industry Corp (AVIC), and the biggest helicopter manufacturer annually delivering more than 100 aircraft ranging from 1-ton to 13-tons. The agreement cements the industrial partnership between the two companies on their jointly-developed EC175 /AC352.
“Today’s agreement results from several years of close collaboration between our teams. It sets the stage for an unprecedented full-scale production framework by both partners and adds a new dimension to the relationship with Avicopter,” said Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury.
“The production contract’s signature will allow both of us to satisfy the Chinese and worldwide market needs in the medium helicopter segment,” added Li Fangyong, AVIC Executive Vice President. “This also puts Avicopter’s production resources to work in the aviation industry’s global industrial chain.”
While development work has been equally shared between Airbus Helicopters and Avicopter for the EC175 /AC352 project, production is likewise shared, combining the capabilities of both companies. Coming from a common platform, two different rotorcraft are being built: the AC352, assembled and supported from China by Avicopter, mainly for the Chinese market; and the EC175, assembled and supported by Airbus Helicopters from Marignane, France, for the worldwide market.
The EC175, certified earlier this year by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Europe’s airworthiness authority, is a highly capable, medium-sized twin-engine rotorcraft that meets global market requirements across a full range of missions – including offshore crew transport, search and rescue, VIP, utility and medical evacuation operations. Initial deliveries to its first three EC175 customers are planned by Airbus Helicopters later in 2014.
France and China launched their cooperation on EC175/AC352 in 2005, benefitting from 40 years of close ties between the partners on previous rotorcraft projects.
© India Strategic