Helibras has delivered the tenth and eleventh EC725 helicopters to Brazil’s armed forces, under its 2008 tri-service contract for 50 units.
Destined for the Brazilian air force, the tenth of the type to be produced by the Airbus Helicopters subsidiary is also the service’s fifth.
Additionally, it is the first example to be delivered in what Helibras describes as a “basic” configuration, and has a number of new components designed and produced in-country by the company, as it works to increase the local content on EC725s.
The eleventh example, meanwhile, is the fourth delivered to the nation’s army.
Although previous EC725s for Brazil were largely completed at Airbus Helicopters’ factory in Marignane, France, an increasing amount of work on the rotorcraft is being transferred to the Helibras plant at Itajubá.
So far, Brazilian defence forces have accumulated more than 4,370h using the in-service EC725 fleet, Helibras says.
Separately, on 22 April Brazil’s Avibras signed a contract covering the local development and production of rocket motors for the MBDA AM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles which will equip eight of the 16 EC725s to be operated by the Brazilian navy.
Fit tests using the munition have already been carried out in Marignane, and software and aeromechanical integration work is continuing at Helibras.
Flight tests of the Exocet-equipped rotorcraft will follow once the integration effort is completed.
"This is an unprecedented programme in Brazil. It will be the first EC725 to be equipped with [the] missile configuration we are developing here,” says Eduardo Marson, Helibras president. The company hopes the effort will present retrofit opportunities with other EC725 operators.
São Paulo-headquartered Avibras will develop an entirely new motor, using knowledge gained from its involvement in a programme to re-engine the Brazilian navy’s inventory of ship-launched Exocets.