Eurocopter is expanding its technology development facilities at its main plants in Marignane, near Marseille, and Donauwörth, Germany.
The Franco-German-Spanish helicopter manufacturer will construct two buildings in Marignane, one to test aircraft systems and the other to serve as a development centre for about 1,000 staff which will open in 2015.
The initial phase at the Mediterranean site is already complete following refurbishment of the "Labogir" building, which houses vehicle and mechanical test benches. The next step is to renovate the design office and set up avionics testing facilities.
Construction has begun on "Helicopter Zero", a building which will accommodate test benches so different aircraft systems can be assessed in an integrated set-up. This facility will be finished in 2013.
Also next year, the manufacturer plans to break ground on a development centre, to be completed in 2015. It will accommodate about 1,000 employees and house the "plateau" division for programmes under development.
Meanwhile in Germany, Eurocopter is building a 30,000m² (323,000ft²) development centre for about 900 engineers. This facility is part of the "Systemhaus" project, which aims to bring development, production, certification and aftermarket support activities under one roof.
The building will be completed before year-end, after which Eurocopter staff at the EADS facility in Ottobrunn, near Munich, will be moved to Donauwörth. Ottobrunn will remain a facility for parent EADS.