The AS 550 C3 Fennec has successfully completed its field trials with full mission equipment for the Indian Armed Forces. It has also demonstrated its capabilities as the successor to the country’s existing fleet of Indian-produced Cheetah and Chetak helicopters – both which are based on Eurocopter rotary-wing aircraft. “We are very happy with the Fennec’s performance during the recent trials, and are confident it is the ideal proposition as the rightful successor to the Cheetah and Chetak,” explained Rainer Farid, the Eurocopter Vice President of Sales for South Asia. “By participating in the key competitive tenders with our best products, we hope to continue to support India in acquiring the right mission equipment and developing a strengthened aerospace industry.”
The Eurocopter AS550 Fennec and AS555 Fennec 2 are lightweight, multipurpose military helicopters manufactured by Eurocopter Group. The armed versions of the AS 550 C3 Fennec can be fitted with coaxial weapons, rockets, torpedoes and various other munitions. The military-certified and combat-proven AS550 C3 Fennec has exceptional performance at high altitudes and in hot weather conditions. In addition to operating in Chile’s Andes Mountains at altitudes over 5,000 meters, Fennec helicopters have landed on Mount Everest and the Siachin glacier in the Himalayas. Eurocopter’s EC135 in the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) configuration will also be present at Aero India 2011. Along with the Fennec’s presence at Aero India 2011, Eurocopter’s participation will focus on the AS565 Naval Panther – a version of the Dauphin family, which is well suited for requirements of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.
Eurocopter currently holds a leading position in the Indian military and civil markets, building this presence through strong partnerships. For the military sector, Eurocopter developed a very successful 40-year association in India through two cooperation agreements with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Today, HAL is a key element of Eurocopter’s global supply chain, producing shipsets of airframe components for its Ecureuil/Fennec helicopters. In the civil market, Eurocopter has successfully formed partnerships for 25 years with Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited which is Eurocopter approved maintenance center on Dauphin. Eurocopter also approved the Indocopters maintenance center on AS350B3 and EC155.
“The Indian helicopter industry has displayed great potential over the last few years with an annual growth rate of 20 percent,” explained Marie-Agnès Veve, the CEO of Eurocopter India Pvt. Ltd. “Given the country’s expanding economy, its size and challenging terrain – as well as the industrial potential – the future of this industry is very promising. Over the next few years, we hope to become the no. 1 supplier for the civilian, government and parapublic markets in India”. Eurocopter currently has 23 civil and government customers operating its helicopter products in India, with these rotary-wing aircraft performing duties that range from the support of offshore oil and gas drilling to VIP, corporate and passenger transportation.