ILA: Eurocopter pledges dramatic increase in R&D spending

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Eurocopter chief executive Lutz Bertling believes he has a winning formula to see his company safely through the recession: drastically increase spending on research and development.

Speaking at the show yesterday, Bertling pledged to sink more than €1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) of the company's own money into research and development by 2014, with a similar amount to come from customer-financed development programmes.

"I want to see the first flight of at least one new helicopter or technology demonstrator every year," he said. "We believe this crisis is a time for transformation."

Much of the increased spending will go into "green" technologies, as Bertling expects environmental friendliness to become the "key factor" in helicopter buying decisions.

The investments are expected to generate 400 new jobs in France and Germany for engineers and technicians.

The Turkish State Transport Administration meanwhile agreed a deal at the show to buy two EC145 helicopters for airport security and corporate transport duties.