03 October 2012

Eurocopter’s Helibras subsidiary inaugurates new €160mn assembly facility in Itajubá, Brazil

03 October 2012 - Eurocopter marked a major development for Brazil’s aeronautical industry yesterday with the inauguration of its Helibras subsidiary’s 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 – providing a highly capable aircraft fleet based on Eurocopter’s renowned Super Puma/Cougar helicopter family. The new industry capabilities will also enable Helibras to build the civilian EC225 version, providing locally-manufactured helicopters for off-shore oil and gas operations, as well as other applications. 

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. 

“The Itajubá plant represents our latest milestone in a relationship spanning more than 30 years with Brazil, and underscores Eurocopter’s commitment of being in proximity to its customers while in-sourcing high-value business in key markets,” said Eurocopter President and CEO Lutz Bertling. “ 

Total investment in the new Helibras Itajubá industrial site is €160 million, which includes creation of the facility, establishment of the various elements necessary for helicopter production, as well as the organization and operation of related training programs for personnel. The plant is part of a €1.8 billion agreement signed by Helibras and the Brazilian Defense Ministry in 2008 for acquisition of the EC725s to be operated by Brazil’s three armed forces – which are to include progressively 50 percent Brazilian-made content. 

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 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 already has signed contracts with 15 Brazilian companies for the supply of EC725 components, parts and services. It also is providing training for pilots, mechanics, technicians and engineers during activity in both France and Brazil as part of the technology transfer agreement for the helicopter acquisition. 

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 20,000 people. In 2011, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 5.4 billion Euros, orders for 457 new helicopters and a 43 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s helicopters account for 33 percent of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. Eurocopter’s strong international presence is ensured by its subsidiaries and participations in 21 countries. 

Source: Eurocopter Group