Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Eurocopter have extended their 33-year co-operation agreement on the EC145 - designated the BK117 C-2 in Japan - by a further 15 years.

The deal cements the partnership between the Japanese and German manufacturers until 2025. KHI and Eurocopter began in 1977 to mutually develop the light twin-engined BK117, which had its maiden flight in June 1979. Several upgrades of the BK117 have been carried out and in 1999 the latest version - dubbed the EC145 - made its maiden flight.

More than 800 BK117/EC145s have been delivered to date by the two partner companies, which share development and manufacturing, with three final assembly lines - in Donauwörth in Germany, Gifu in Japan and Columbus, Mississippi.

Source: Flight International