DCNS and Airbus Helicopters to design French Navy’s future VTOL drone

Oct 20, 2016

DCNS, a world leader in naval defence, and Airbus Helicopters are joining forces to design the future tactical component of France’s Naval Aerial Drone (Système de Drones Aériens de la Marine – SDAM) programme. By pooling naval and aerospace skills and expertise, the teaming of DCNS and Airbus Helicopters will be equipped to address all technical challenges arising from the naval integration of the drones through the creation of a robust system architecture that can evolve and adapt to meet every need.


Ten years of experience in the naval integration of aerial drone

For DCNS, drones are the roving eyes of the battle system; their missions are overseen by each ship’s combat management system, ensuring increased effectiveness in real time in support of naval operations. Offering a genuine tactical advantage, the VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) drone is a natural component of warships and augments the operational potential of naval forces.

DCNS CEO Hervé Guillou said: “We will continue to innovate in these areas and give drones the capability to perform increasingly complex missions over greater distances and timeframes in an interoperable environment with increased digitalisation of resources. Such digitalisation hinges on the roll-out of cybersecurity solutions that offer better protection of data and communications between drones and ships.”

DCNS’s role in the partnership will be to design and supply the entire warship-integrated VTOL drone system. DCNS will design and develop the solutions for the ship-based operation and integration of the drone, including the specification and validation of the payloads and mission data links. DCNS will also produce the drone’s mission system, which will enable real-time management of its operations and allow its payloads to be controlled through the combat management system.

Over the last ten years, DCNS has successfully overseen the French armaments procurement agency (DGA) and French Navy’s main aerial drone study and trial programs, operating both on its own and in partnership. In the process, the Group has acquired know-how that is unique in Europe and possesses solutions for integrating aerial drone systems in warships or enabling them to operate on ships. These solutions have been tested at sea.

The VSR 700: a multi-faceted and robust solution

A versatile and affordable platform, the VSR700 has been developed by Airbus Helicopters with a view to providing military customers with a solution that leverages a tried and tested civil aircraft and strikes the best possible balance between performance, operational flexibility, reliability and operating costs. Harnessing autonomous flight technologies that have been tested by Airbus Helicopters through a range of demonstration programs, the VSR700 is derived from a light civil helicopter, the Cabri G2 (developed by the company Hélicoptères Guimbal), which has proven its reliability and low operating costs in service.

DCNS and Airbus Helicopters to design French Navy’s future VTOL drone

Under the terms of the partnership, Airbus Helicopters will be responsible for designing and developing the VSR700 drone as well as the various technologies needed for it to perform aerial missions, such as data liaison, payload and a “see and avoid” capability enabling the drone’s integration into airspace.

“Rotary-wing drones will play a crucial role in tomorrow’s air/sea theatres of operation, performing the role of a roving eye and extending the coverage of surface vessels over the horizon,” said Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury.

“This partnership will see Airbus Helicopters pool its expertise in vertical flight and autonomous flight technologies with the skills DCNS possesses in naval combat systems, allowing us to respond to the emerging needs of our customers.”

Thanks to the VSR700’s specifications, the system boasts superior endurance and payload performance to any comparable system used to date. The device offers big capability with a small size and logistics footprint, resulting in less maintenance and straight forward integration to a broad range of surface vessels.

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The H215 helicopter showcases its performance in Latin America

Apr 19, 2016

The H215 helicopter, a member of the Super Puma family, will be demonstrating its multi-mission capabilities and performance for aerial work in high & hot conditions during a demo tour of Latin America.

The demo flights will begin tomorrow in Argentina and will then continue in Chile before finishing in Peru. During this three-week tour, both civil and military customers in the region will be invited to discover the versatility of the helicopter.

The H215 provides advanced avionics in a reliable and sturdy platform capable of performing a wide range of missions. It offers long-range capabilities, power, speed, an excellent useful payload as well as an availability rate of more than 95 percent. Both EASA and FAA certified, the H215 is equipped with cutting-edge technology that meets the latest safety requirements of the market. This includes a glass cockpit and the renowned 4-axis autopilot used on the H225, which provides flight envelope protection, unrivalled precision and stability even in the harshest operating conditions.

“The H215 represents a new business concept. Changes to our industrial organization allow us to offer a powerful and modern helicopter at a very competitive price, with optimized lead times and major flexibility in terms of optional equipment,” said Alexandre Ceccacci, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters in Cono Sur.

H215 Helicopter

The H215 helicopter showcases its performance in Latin America

“It’s the ideal option for customers in the region looking for a cost-effective helicopter with multi-mission capabilities.”

The H215 is tailored for a full range of missions, in particular aerial work with internal and external loads, fire fighting, law enforcement, medical evacuation, SAR, and humanitarian missions.

The UN and several Latin American Armed Forces are among the customers having selected the H215 or its military version – H215M- for its cost efficiency, long range capabilities and outstanding performance in high and hot environments.

Airbus Helicopters, a division of Airbus Group, provides the most efficient civil and military helicopter solutions worldwide. Its in-service fleet includes nearly 12,000 helicopters operated by more than 3,000 customers in 154 countries. Airbus Helicopters employs more than 22,000 people worldwide and in 2015 generated revenues of 6.8 billion euros.

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Boeing to recycle 117 Apache Helicopters for U.S. Army

Apr 19, 2016

Boeing is to recycle 117 Apache Helicopters for U.S. Army. The United States’ leading provider of attack helicopters has a contract to remanufacture 117 AH-64D attack helicopters to the new, more capable AH-64E model. The agreement, which also includes the acquisition of Longbow Crew Trainers, logistical support and spares, carries a total contract value of about $1.5 billion.

The U.S. Army has stated it plans to acquire 690 AH-64E helicopters, 290 of which are now under contract with this latest award.

“The AH-64E continues to meet the requirements of aviators, battlefield commanders and soldiers deployed on missions worldwide,” said U.S. Army Apache Project Manager, Col. Jeff Hager.

“The Army, Boeing and Team Apache suppliers continue a valuable collaboration that ensures soldiers have the latest technologies to succeed in defending freedom with this outstanding weapons system.”

The Apache AH-64E Attack Helicopter

Boeing to remanufacture 117 Apache Helicopters for U.S. Army

“With our integrated production, services and training teams, Boeing is able to affordably support the Army through each phase of the Apache’s lifecycle,” said Kim Smith, vice president, Attack Helicopter Programs, Boeing Vertical Lift.

“The dedication and commitment to first-time quality by Boeing teammates and suppliers combine to deliver an Apache that is ready to meet the rigorous demands of the men and women who depend on it.”

The agreement modifies an existing contact among Boeing and the Army for the full-rate production of lots 5 and 6 Apache helicopters. The Army will return 117 AH-64D Apaches to Boeing’s Mesa, Ariz. production center to be remanufactured into the AH-64E configuration. The Army followed a similar model when the AH-64A Apaches were remanufactured into AH-64Ds.

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First H145 Mercedes Benz Style helicopter arrives at Körfez Aviation

Feb 2, 2016

Airbus Helicopters has handed over the first H145 Mercedes Benz Style helicopter to Körfez Aviation in Turkey. This is the first of two helicopters acquired by Körfez Aviation to expand its fleet dedicated to business and private aviation, as well as charter flights in the region.

The second H145 Mercedes-Benz Style is expected to be delivered in March 2016.

Part of Doğus Group, Körfez Aviation has become a leading business aviation operator in Turkey thanks to its modern and well maintained fleet as well as highly experienced and trained crews. From its main operations center at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, the company offers customer tailored trips to the Turkish southern Mediterranean coast and beyond.

“We are thrilled to be the first to introduce the H145 Mercedes Benz in Turkey and among the first in the world to operate this type” said Müjdat Yücel, General Director of Körfez Aviation.

“We have chosen this helicopter as the top of its class in the light/medium-sized twin-engine category. We are convinced that its high-class, redesigned cabin interior will meet and exceed our customers’ expectations of comfort and exclusivity.”

H145 Mercedes Benz Style Helicopter

Airbus Helicopters announced the new H145 Mercedes Benz Style last October at Helitech. The new model, which has already registered five orders, offers higher performance, increased flight safety and improved exterior design over the former EC145 for which this solution was initially developed.

Like its predecessor, the new H145 Mercedes-Benz Style is tailored for high-end private and corporate operations and offers a redesigned cabin interior that includes in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity, an improved infotainment system and a new ergonomic seat design for increased comfort.

“We are very happy to see the H145 Mercedes Benz Style starting operations in Turkey” said Frederic Lemos, Airbus Helicopters’ Head of Private & Business Aviation Europe.

“We thank Körfez Aviation for expressing their confidence by placing two orders for this new model. We are confident it will contribute to further expanding Körfez Aviation’s reputation for first-class air travel services”.

Offering the widest range of helicopters for private and business operations, Airbus Helicopters is the market leader with more than 400 helicopters sold in this segment over the past five years.

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Airbus Helicopters deliver LPR in Poland four additional H135 helicopters

Jan 5, 2016

Poland’s public air medical rescue operator LPR (SP ZOZ Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe) has received four new H135 (formerly known as EC135P3) helicopters to extend its Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) operations in Poland. This latest delivery brings the total H135 LPR fleet to 27 units.

Prior to this on-time and on-quality delivery of four new H135s, an intensive technical acceptance process took place in December 2015 at Airbus Helicopters’ Donauwörth site in Germany. All helicopters were subsequently transferred to the main LPR base in Warsaw. The total fleet of 27 H135 helicopters is now fully operational with LPR, representing a major step in the modernization of the country’s helicopter-based medical evacuation services and making Poland one of the world’s largest users of this helicopter in its new-generation EMS configuration.

H135 HEMS Helicopters

“Airbus Helicopters is committed to providing Poland with state-of-the-art and reliable helicopters to carry out emergency service duties” said Mickael Peru, Managing Director at Airbus Helicopters Polska.

Airbus Helicopters deliver LPR in Poland four additional H135 helicopters

“We also ensure that these aircraft can be autonomously maintained in-country and in full accordance with the operator’s requirements. This latest delivery is yet another example of the excellent cooperation with our Polish customer and demonstrates once again our ability to fulfil all our contractual obligations”, he added.

The agreement for the delivery of four new H135 helicopters to LPR was signed on 4 August 2015, following a competitive public tender procedure won by Airbus Helicopters. The LPR fleet has an average availability rate of over 95 percent. All helicopters have been equipped according to the required specification including in between the sophisticated avionics, full NVG certification, and a fully equipped state of the art EMS cabin.

Airbus Helicopters has delivered nearly 1,200 helicopters of the H135-family to customers around the globe, which have logged more than 3 million flight hours. One-quarter of this total fleet is deployed for EMS duties.

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Airbus Helicopters takes first flight with new twin turbo V8 engine

Nov 10, 2015

Airbus Helicopters has successfully completed the first flight test of the high-compression engine demonstrator aircraft at Marignane Airport. The development and flight test of this new technology demonstrator took place last Friday. It is part of the European Clean Sky initiative’s Green Rotorcraft Integrated Technology Demonstrator (ITD) program. Support for these flight tests provided by the consortium of TEOS Powertrain Engineering and Austro Engine GmbH.

“The first resul t of the 30 minutes flight confirms the advantages of new-technology high-compression piston engines for rotorcraft in offering reduced emissions; up to 50% lower fuel consumption depending on duty cycle, nearly doubled range and enhanced operations in hot and high conditions”, said Tomasz Krysinski, Head of Research and Innovation at Airbus.

In addition to confirming improvements in eco-efficiency, Airbus Helicopters’ in-flight evaluations in the upcoming months will also focus on the right power-to-weight ratios that would make high-compression engines sustainable alternatives to the turbine powerplants typically used in the helicopter industry. The flight test campaign will enable the helicopter manufacturer to establish the engine installation at Technology Readiness Level 6 (TRL 6).

Airbus Helicopters starts flight tests with high-compression engine for cleaner, more efficient and higher-performance rotorcraft

V8 Helicopters

Integrated into an H120, the 4.6-liter high-compression piston engine incorporates numerous technologies already applied on advanced self-ignition engines, and runs on the widely-available kerosene fuel used in aviation engines. Its V8 design has the two sets of cylinders oriented at a 90 deg. angle to each other, with a high-pressure (1800 bar) common-rail direct injection and one turbocharger per cylinder bank.

Other features include fully-machined aluminum blocks and titanium connecting rods, pistons and liners made of steel, liquid-cooling and a dry sump management method for the lubricating motor oil as used on aerobatic aircraft and race cars.

The Green Rotorcraft ITD program that supported Airbus Helicopters’ research project is part of the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative, which is Europe’s most ambitious aeronautical research program ever. Clean Sky’s goal is to develop breakthrough technologies that significantly increase environmental performance of the air transport sector, resulting in quieter and more fuel efficient aircraft and rotorcraft. Environmental targets of Clean Sky are to reduce specific fuel consumption by 30 percent, CO2 emissions by 40 percent and NOx by 53 percent.

Airbus Helicopters’ high-compression piston engine activity began in 2011, followed by company bench tests and system simulations, including Iron Bird successful tests in February 2014. Ground runs with the H120-equipped helicopter were performed during February and March of this year, leading to the first flight.

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Thames Valley Air Ambulance to get UK’s first H135 helicopter

Oct 8, 2015

The first H135 helicopter in the UK, acquired and operated by Bond Air Services on behalf of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, is about to enter service in the Thames Valley region. The public launch of the aircraft, to take place in Oxfordshire on Monday 12th October, will see the start of the H135’s first operations in the UK, in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) role.

Initially delivered to Bond Air Services in August 2015 for the fitting of an Aerolite EMS interior and completion, the H135 will replace Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s current EC135T2, in service since 2008. Replacing this aircraft with an H135 is a testament to Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s satisfaction and confidence in the performance and capability of this family of aircraft.

Mark McGeown, CEO Thames Valley Air Ambulance said, “We are looking forward to bringing it into service as our next generation EMS aircraft. The improved performance, increased payload and better fuel economy of the Airbus H135 helicopter, combined with NVIS capabilities, will enable our crews to take the major step into night HEMS operations. This is key to the future development of our air ambulance service”

The H135  Helicopter Air Ambulance

First H135 helicopter for Thames Valley Air Ambulance

Colin James, UK Managing Director Airbus Helicopters, said “The H135 is the latest evolution of Airbus Helicopters’ most successful light, twin-engine helicopter. It has been the backbone of British police and EMS operations for the last decade and the H135 provides the improved capability for it to continue in this role for the decade to come”.

The commitment to the new H135 helicopter, a decision not lightly made by a charity, comes as a result of the additional capabilities the helicopter brings, including night flights, advanced avionics, further reduced noise footprint and increased payload. Furthermore, the light maintenance requirements, coupled with high reliability ensure the H135 has the lowest direct operating costs in its class.

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Airbus show their new H175 helicopter to Brazilian oil and gas sector

Jun 9, 2015

Brazil’s oil and gas sector will experience the performance, reliability, comfort and safety of the new Airbus H175 helicopter during a demonstration tour for the super-medium class model.

The H175’s schedule will bring this latest-generation helicopter to two of the main bases that support off-shore operations: Cabo Frio, on 8 June; and Macaé, on 9-10 June, as well as stopovers at Rio de Janeiro’s Jacarepaguá Airport on 11-12 June.

The H175 helicopter was designed to meet the most demanding oil and gas industry airlift missions. It offers new levels of comfort with the largest cabin in its class, as well as low in-flight vibration and noise levels; while providing highly cost-effective service, with a maximum payload capacity of 16 passengers, low fuel consumption and the range to reach 90 percent of Brazil’s offshore installations.

Operational reliability is another strength of the H175, having already demonstrated its high availability in more than 800 flight hours performed by customers since deliveries began last December.

The H175 helicopter is a perfect complement to Airbus Helicopters’ heavy-lift H225, of which 14 are deployed by three major operators in Brazil. As a tandem offered only by Airbus Helicopters, the H175 and H225 are able to support the country’s oil and gas sector development in terms of range and payload.

“Airbus Helicopters is committed to its continued support of Brazil’s oil and gas sector by offering the best products – backed by a full range of services,” said Christopher Grainger, Airbus Helicopters’ Vice President Oil and Gas.

The H175 Helicopter

Airbus Helicopters new H175 helicopter demonstraor in Brazil

“Today, some 50 of our rotorcraft are flown by the country’s energy operators, having accumulated more than 350,000 flight hours.”

The company’s Rio de Janeiro symposium for Latin American operators, which took place on 27 May, focused on the capabilities of Airbus Helicopters’ rotorcraft, as well as its comprehensive support and services offer for the region’s oil and gas operators.

This meeting also highlighted Airbus Helicopters’ regional resources, which includes the Brazilian Helibras subsidiary. Helibras has created a new structure, called the Fleet Center, to support operators that fly to the offshore oil platforms located along Brazil’s coast – using a dedicated multidisciplinary team from Helibras and Airbus Helicopters to perform technical support for a rotary wing  fleet that operates a large number of flight hours daily and demands very high aircraft availability.

Located at Rio de Janeiro, the Fleet Center is staffed by field technical representatives who are available to work with the customer technical and maintenance personnel at their sites in anticipating solutions and maintaining a high level of fleet availability and operational safety. A training and simulator center will be opened this October 2015 that includes a full-flight simulator for the H225 and its H225M military version.

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Airbus Helicopters Foundation provides Cyclone Pam aid in Vanuatu

Apr 1, 2015

The Airbus Helicopters Foundation in coordination with French Foreign Affairs Ministry Crisis Center have joined forces to distribute medical supplies, food and other humanitarian aid to the communities affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, some 1,7500 km east of Australia. The category five cyclone caused enormous damage to Vanuatu’s infrastructure, leaving it “completely destroyed” according to Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale, who called for help to rebuild the country. Aid agencies have indicated that conditions are among the most challenging they have faced.

Airbus Helicopters Foundation has worked with other stakeholders involved in the rescue operation in order to provide necessary helicopter flight hours to humanitarian workers from various agencies so they may reach communities in the most devastated areas of the archipelago.

“Following a severe natural disaster, helicopters are a powerful mean of transportation able to provide the aid needed for those affected by the tragedy,” said Guillaume Faury, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation and CEO of Airbus Helicopters.

Airbus Helicopters Foundation At Work

The Airbus Helicopters Foundation provides aid in Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Pam with an AS350 and BK117

“Supported by our on-site partners in doing so, our Foundation is fulfilling its primary mission: helping people for whom helicopters mean rescue and assistance.”

With few helicopters available locally to support the operations, the Foundation, supported by Airbus Helicopters representatives in Australia, has partnered with New Zealand operator Garden City Helicopters (also present in the archipelago as the owner of Vanuatu Helicopters Ltd) which has sent an AS350 and a BK117 to help with the on-going humanitarian aid operation.

The AS350 and the BK117 were freighted from New Zealand and arrived in Port Vila on March 20 and the first flight of the AS350 was completed on March 22 for the transportation of medical supplies.

The Airbus Helicopters Foundation continues to provide support to those in Vanuatu as the AS350 and the BK117 continue to work at their service.

More information on the Foundation is available on its website:
www.fondationairbushelicopters.com

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French Army receive two more upgraded AS532 Cougar helicopters

Mar 13, 2015

The French General Directorate for Armament (DGA) today took delivery of two upgraded AS532 Cougar helicopters for the French Army Aviation.

Helicopter Upgrade

Airbus Helicopters was awarded with an ambitious modernisation program, by the French General Directorate for Armament, for the 26 Cougar aircraft that are operated by the French Army Aviation. The upgrades included, in particular, a new avionics suite and an exceptional automatic pilot similar to that of the H225M (formerly the EC725). This brings a similar human machine interface between the two aircraft, a real operational advantage for the crew.

French Army receive two more upgraded AS532 Cougar helicopters

French Army receive two more upgraded AS532 Cougar helicopters

Three AS532 Cougar were upgraded in 2013, and five more in 2014 and an additional seven aircraft will be delivered in 2015.

In April 2014, the modernised Cougar successfully participated in its first operational deployment in Mali as part of Operation Barkhane alongside the Tiger and has already demonstrated excellent capabilities.

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