The Paris air show is home turf for Eurocopter and the European manufacturer is using the show to fly its EC155B twin-engine helicopter for the first time publicly.

Launch customer is the German border guard (BGS) which took delivery of an initial batch of EC155Bs in March. BGS has 13 aircraft on order.

Eurocopter's hope now is that the aircraft will mirror the growth in sales enjoyed by its sister, the EC135. The company will mark the 100th EC135 delivery here later this week.

An enlarged derivative of the AS365 Dauphin, the 5t aircraft extends the top end of Eurocopter's medium-weight range and will be pitched against aircraft such as Sikorsky's S-76C+ in key corporate and offshore oil support markets.

Designed as a 12-seater, the EC155 is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2C1s with a top cruise speed of 143kt (260km/h) and a range of 830km (450nm).

It features a new five-blade Spheriflex main rotor and the Fenestron tail rotor developed as part of the quiet helicopter research programme.

Source: Flight Daily News