Eurocopter marked a major development for Brazil’s aeronautical industry on October 2 with the inauguration of Helibras’ new rotary-wing center of excellence in Itajubá, Minas Gerais, where Brazilian Armed Forces EC725 helicopters will be assembled.
Helibras’ new Itajubá plant will produce, assemble and maintain the EC725s being acquired by Brazil’s three armed forces in the largest such contract ever signed in South America.
In addition to establishing a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, this center will create the framework for potential future helicopter development in the country, along with the evolution of its aviation industry supply chain.
Helibras already has delivered the first four EC725s to Brazil – which were assembled at Eurocopter’s production site in France, to be followed by the Itajubá-built helicopters. The first of these already are today in the Final Assembly Line in the new Brazilian facility, including an EC725 that will serve as the development and systems integration aircraft for the in-country development of the Utility and Naval mission systems. 2017 is the deadline to deliver the 50 aircraft.
Helibras also signed a contract with Brazil’s InbraAerospace to supply composite armor protection on the Brazilian armed forces’ multi-role EC725 helicopters to be assembled in the new plant.
This new agreement brings to 15 the number of supplier contracts already placed for Brazilian-made content on the EC725s, which are to be operated in missions that include combat search and rescue, long-range tactical transport, aeromedical transport, logistic support and naval duties.