Military Helicopter Assembly Line Inaugurated in Brazil
By Dialogo October 05, 2012
Helibras opened a new assembly line at its Itajubá unit, in Minas Gerais, where helicopters EC725 will be manufactured to supply the Brazilian Armed Forces, as well as a civilian version of the same aircraft, the EC225, used as transportation for oil exploration platforms offshore.
The total project investment is worth 420 million reals (US$ 207.86 million.) This includes company premises, training programs, and all necessary works and innovations for helicopter production.
Through this agreement, Helibras is committed to producing 50 large multi-mission helicopters in Brazil. “It is a program that serves the interest of the Government to acquire customized helicopters with cutting-edge technology and an incentive in boosting the national industry; the Helibras / Eurocopter partnership enables the production of more complex aircrafts,” said Eduardo Marson Ferreira, President for Helibras.
With respect to the supply chain, Helibras has already hired 14 Brazilian companies that manufacture parts and that provide necessary training to pilots, mechanics, technicians, and engineers, either in France or in Brazil. Representatives of the three branches of the Armed Forces are accompanying the project, to guarantee the transfer of effective technological demanded by the Brazilian Government in this program.
Following the project’s schedule, four EC725 units were already submitted; one in July 2010, and three in December 2010. The final deadline for delivering the 50 aircrafts is 2017. The next helicopters constructed in Brazil are already in Itajubá. Among them is a unit that will serve as a model for the development and integration of systems and the first one to be completely processed in the Minas Gerais’ production line.
Innovations promoted by the company, in agreement with the Armed Forces, include the development of the Engineering Center. In the last three years, this sector grew so much that the engineering population increased almost eight times: nine engineers in 2009 to 70 this year.
The new facilities at the Helibras industrial complex in Itajubá, Minas Gerais, were built from the most up-to-date engineering techniques, the most advanced materials used in civil construction, and modern sustainability concepts.