Taiwan has signed a contract for three Eurocopter EC225 search and rescue helicopters, with sources confirming that the aircraft are intended for use by the state's air force.

"Following an international tender, it [Eurocopter] has been selected by Taiwan for the purchase of three EC225 civil helicopters, which will be used for search and rescue missions," the company confirms.

Eurocopter has not specified which organisation will be using the new helicopters, but an official in Taiwan's defence ministry confirms that the aircraft will be flown by the island's air force.

EC225 - Patrick Penna Eurocopter
 © Patrick Penna Eurocopter

"EC225 helicopters have been widely used for humanitarian operations where they have proven their worth in life-saving missions after natural catastrophes such as earthquakes and typhoons," says Eurocopter. The latest civil model in its Super Puma family offers "advanced capabilities" for such operations over land or sea, it adds.

The EC225 is the civil version of Eurocopter's EC725 Super Cougar, which is a military tactical transport and combat search-and-rescue helicopter.

Confirmation of the deal comes less than two weeks after the US announced plans to sell to Taiwan 60 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters worth $3.1 billion. Beijing has threatened US companies with economic sanctions if the transaction is approved by US Congress.

Source: Flight International