Buttressing the India focus

Updated: Feb 7 2007, 05:30am hrs
The Eurocopter Group, world's No 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 3.8 billion euros, has set its sights on the fast growing Indian aerospace industry. It is seeking to decisively increase its business platform by means of sales as well as by successful industrial deployment, says Rainer Farid, Eurocopter Regional Sales Director (Asia Pacific). For that reason, we are not only participating in the Indian Army aviation tender for the Reconnaissance and Observation Helicopters with our proven AS 550 C3 Fennec, but we are currently discussing numerous opportunities for long-term industrial cooperation with the Indian aerospace industry especially regarding the 10 tons class helicopter", he says. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 13,000 people. Its products account for 30% of the total world helicopter fleet.

At the companys India facility in Bangalore recently, an agreement with high-ranking Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) representatives was settled to enlarge the production scale of Ecureuil/Fennec. With this, HAL is to become a first line partner for the global supply chain for Eurocopter. This further enlarged cooperation is expected to create approximately 150 high-quality jobs in the Bangalore region for more than 10 years.

Farid says that HAL and Eurocopter are familiar with each other, having worked together in a trustful relationship for more than 40 years. Since the 1960ies, HAL has manufactured around 600 Chetaks and Cheetahs, the legendary predecessors to the Ecureuil/Fennec aircraft, under license from Eurocopter. The new Ecureuil work packages to be processed by HAL soon are expected to give job to up to 150 specialised Indian workers and technicians in Bangalore for more than 10 years.

Eurocopter is contracting latest technologies in metal and composite work to its partner HAL. HAL itself decisively contributes to the fact that Eurocopter's yearly production rate of all Ecureuil versions is more than twice that of its closest competitors. At Aero India 2007, Eurocopter will display the following products:

* EC725 SAR

* Naval Cougar (military version of the Puma)

* Fennec as offered in the tender for Light helicopters for the Indian Army

The military certified Fennec currently represents the best transport/radius of action trade-off when compared with any helicopter in its class. "In India, the Fennec 550C3 has been successfully demonstrated to cope with the demanding high altitude and hot temperature operational requirements which make it the natural successor of Cheetah, in full compliance to the needs of the Indian Army", emphasizes Christopher Bach, Eurocopter Spokesman for India. The helicopter is capable of day and night military operations and covers a mission spectrum from attack, anti-tank, to training, cargo, sling transport, medical evacuation, and SAR. The modern design and easiness of field maintenance makes the Fennec C3 the best-proven military helicopter in its class, says Bach.