Eurocopter and Poland: Meeting the country's multi-role military helicopter requirements and supporting its industrial supply chain on a global scale
As part of the presence at MSPO - being held September 2-5 in Kielce - Eurocopter has brought for a second time the EC725 Caracal helicopter. The machine operating recently in Afghanistan, Mali or Libya belongs to the French Air Forces. The Caracal is proposed for Poland's acquisition of 70 multi-role helicopters, with Eurocopter and Turbomeca (Safran) signing industrial cooperation agreements that include the creation of full assembly lines in Poland for the Caracal and its Makila 2 turboshaft engines.
"Our Caracal is a proven and reliable choice for Poland's multi-role helicopter tender, as demonstrated by its battle-proven experience and confirmed by a growing list of customers," said Eurocopter CEO Guillaume Faury. "Eurocopter's response to the tender is fully coherent with our long-standing strategy of working with Poland's industry to further integrate its companies into the global supply chain. We are ready to build this partnership well beyond the Caracal tender, and to support the Polish defense industry's development."
During the MSPO exposition, Eurocopter is displaying the Caracal with many of the weapons systems compatible with the helicopter, including window-mounted 7.62 mm. machine guns, pod-mounted 20 mm. cannons, 68 mm. rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles and torpedoes.
The Caracal is the only modern, single platform and combat proven helicopter currently on the market that is capable of performing the widest range of missions - from armed operations and troop transport to naval or rescue duties. Already deployed in some of the most challenging theatres of operations today, this modern, multi-role 11-metric-ton-class helicopter carries up to 28 passengers in addition to the flight crew, and is equipped with a five- blade main rotor system, as well as the latest in avionics and systems. An impressive fuel capacity provides flight endurance of 5.5 hours. Current customers for the Caracal are France, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Eurocopter is well placed to expand its presence in Poland while further assisting the integration of Polish companies into the global supply chain. The foundation for this strategy is based on a long-term approach of Eurocopter and its EADS parent company to cooperatively develop Poland's aviation capabilities - led by EADS' 2001 acquisition of PZL Warszawa-Okecie, the country's longest-established aviation manufacturer.
In Eurocopter's response to the Polish multi-role helicopter tender, the company joined Turbomeca in signing industrial cooperation agreements with Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze No. 1 (WZL-1) that include creation of the two separate full assembly lines within Poland for the Caracal helicopter and its Makila 2 engines. This brings the resources of Eurocopter and Turbomeca with WZL-1, ensuring a comprehensive in-country industrial work package that also encompasses training for locally-hired workers, along with a comprehensive maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capability that will last far beyond the duration of the contract itself - and potentially be open to future export contracts.
Additionally, Eurocopter has demonstrated its status as a supplier of choice for Poland's helicopter operators. More than 55 Eurocopter rotorcrafts have been delivered to Polish operators - including 23 EC135s for Poland's LPR (Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe) in a modernization of the country's nationwide emergency medical services network, making it one of the most modern in Europe. On 12 August 2013 - three years and an half after the complete deliveries, LPR's EC135 fleet surpassed the number of 100,000 landings, for as many potentially lifesaving, missions serving and protecting Polish citizens. This cooperation has set the standard for a governmental operator transitioning from a Soviet-era rotorcraft type to a modern Western helicopter.
Established in 1992, the French-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 22,000 people. In 2012, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world's No. 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 6.3 billion Euros, orders for 469 new helicopters and a 44 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group's helicopters account for 33 percent of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. Eurocopter's strong international presence is ensured by its subsidiaries and participations in 21 countries. Eurocopter's worldwide network of service centers, training facilities, distributors and certified agents supports more than 2,900 customers. There are currently more than 11,780 Eurocopter helicopters in service in 148 countries. Eurocopter offers the most comprehensive civil and military helicopter range in the world and is fully committed to safety as the most important aspect of its business.
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