While the first two prototypes of the Eurocopter EC145 T2 are employed in the flight-test programme, the manufacturer is showing a mock-up of the upgraded medium-twin in special forces configuration as part of its static display between halls 2 and 3.
The aircraft had its first flight in June 2010 and Eurocopter is aiming for certification around the end of this year. The most distinctive feature that differentiates the T2 from the standard EC145 is the shrouded "Fenestron" tail rotor, which required a completely redesigned empennage and tail boom - all of which is now made out of carbon composite.
Eurocopter EC145 T2
Picture credit: BillyPix
However, the helicopter has also got new Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines, which have been specifically designed for the T2. They should improve performance by at least 20% in normal operations, and 50% in one engine inoperative (OEI) situations. In the cockpit, the manufacturer installed a new avionics system, including a four-axis autopilot as standard equipment.
Eurocopter wants to switch production entirely to the EC145 T2 after 2014. But since deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2013, there will be an overlap period between the standard and upgraded models. For more detail on the EC145 T2 flight-test programme and production, take a look at our Eurocopter profile in tomorrow's Flight Daily News.
Also in the static display is the first Sikorsky CH-53 GA Eurocopter has completed for the Bundeswehr. The EADS subsidiary is upgrading the army's CH-53Gs at its plant in Donauwörth. This package includes new flight control, avionics, communication and navigation equipment, as well as long-range auxiliary fuel tanks.
The aircraft on display was handed over to the Bundeswehr last week, but an official recommissioning ceremony will be held at ILA tomorrow.