Brazilian EC725 integrated with self-protection system
A chaff and flare countermeasures dispensing system developed by Helibras’ Engineering Center has been integrated onto an EC725 helicopter as part of Eurocopter’s programme to supply the aircraft to the Brazilian armed forces.
The countermeasures system has now successfully undergone flight testing on the EC725 to validate its operation and integration with the helicopter’s other functions. A total of six flights were performed by a Brazilian Helibras crew using one of the helicopters produced for the Brazilian armed forces, with the airborne evaluations checking the dispensing of flares and chaff throughout the EC725’s entire flight envelope.
The flights occurred at Santa Cruz Air Base near Rio de Janeiro in cooperation with the Brazilian Air Force, and coordinated through Brazil’s national Aerospace Technology and Science Department. The Brazilian Navy provided one of its Eurocopter Super Puma AS332 L1 helicopters to accompany the EC725 in flight, ensuring the tests were carried out safely.
The self-protection system is used to detect and identify threats to the aircraft and confuse heat-seeking and radar-guided missiles. The system’s in-country development is part of Eurocopter’s technology transfer programme for Brazil that currently comprises several industrial cooperation projects and offset activities.
Helibras and its Eurocopter parent company have already invested in the technology transfer and offset efforts – an outlay that covers facilities, training programmes and all necessary support and innovation involved in the ultimate build-up of helicopters on a new Helibras final assembly line at Itajubá in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
To date, seven EC725s for the Brazilian armed forces produced by Eurocopter in France have been delivered in the first phase of Brazil’s acquisition and an eighth will be delivered before the end of the year. The next batch of helicopters already is in Itajubá, with some of them undergoing partial build-up on the Helibras final assembly line. After testing and acceptance, they will be delivered beginning in early 2014.
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