Airbus Helicopters delivered 409 rotorcraft and logged gross orders for 350 helicopters (net: 335) in 2017, with a strong commercial performance on the heavy and super-medium segments.
The company booked 54 orders for helicopters of the Super Puma family and 19 orders for the super-medium H175. Bookings also included 168 orders for light-single engine helicopters and 105 orders for the H135/H145 light-twins. At the end of 2017, the overall backlog stood at 692 helicopters, a company statement said.
“We are now closing the first chapter of the company-wide transformation launched in 2014, which has allowed us to become stronger and leaner in a challenging market environment,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Helicopters Chief Executive Officer.
“As we launch a second wave of company transformation this year, our main focus will be to speed up these efforts through increased digitalisation of our products, services and operations – for the benefit of our customers and the safety of our fleet”.
Last year saw major progress being made on new products, including the H160 – first of the “H Generation” – with three prototypes now in flight-testing ahead of certification in 2019. A full-scale firing campaign of the HForce weapon system was also carried out successfully on the H145M, which will benefit from improved and modular military capabilities by the end of 2018.
The year was also marked by the launch of ACH (Airbus Corporate Helicopters) through which the company is able to offer high quality design and specifications across its range of helicopters to private and business customers.
In 2017, Airbus Helicopters completed the implementation of its revamped industrial model with the inauguration of its blade production facility in Paris-Le Bourget, which will be fully part of the new site specialisation strategy integrating the Marignane, Donauwörth and Albacete plants. On the international stage, the company delivered the 400th UH-72 Lakota to the US Army and broke ground on its first helicopter final assembly line in China, with initial deliveries expected in 2019.
The US Army has issued a request for information (RFI) to acquire additional 35 Airbus Helicopters UH-72A Lakota training and support platforms. The RFI asks for sources that can provide additional civil variant of EC145 helicopters
Airbus Helicopters and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) have signed a Follow-on Support Arrangement contract to provide support to the Royal Air Force Puma 2 fleet over the planned service life of the aircraft. The contract, worth an initial £100 million, is the first of two pricing periods which will see Airbus Helicopters provide full technical support and logistics until March 2022
Airbus Helicopters makes progress in the experimentation of its Project EAGLE (Eye for Autonomous Guidance and Landing Extension), with the in-flight validation of the on-board image processing system. Performed on an H225 flying testbed, the trials have demonstrated the systems ability to select asmall ground “target” from ranges of up to 2 miles and to automatically track it during the approach performed by the pilot
The Mexican Navy has received its final two AS565 MBe Panther helicopters from Airbus Helicopters in Marignane. With their order for ten units in 2014, the Mexican Navy became the launch customer of this new version
Airbus Helicopters has been awarded a contract from South Korea's National 119 Rescue Headquarters for the purchase of two additional H225 helicopters. The National 119 Rescue Headquarters currently operates an all-Airbus helicopter fleet comprising two AS365 N2 and two H225
Airbus Helicopters has recently completed a ballistic development test of an HForce weapon system on a H145M helicopter held at Pápa Airbase in Hungary. The tested system included guns (FN Herstal HMP400), unguided rockets (Thales FZ231) and cannons (Nexter NC621) as well as an electro-optical targeting system by Wescam (MX15) and a helmet mounted sight display by Thales (Scorpion)
Airbus Helicopters and Fly Blade, Inc. (Blade), a digitally-powered aviation firm, have signed a strategic partnership to develop new premium on-demand helicopter flight experiences, paving the way for enhanced urban air mobility solutions to benefit the future of vertical flight
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