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EADS obstacle warning system for Royal Thai Air Force

* HELLAS warns helicopter pilots about obstacles
* Considerable increase in flight safety

Friedrichshafen, 25 August 2005

EADS has equipped two helicopters, deployed by the Royal Thai Air Force for transporting VIPs, with the HELLAS obstacle warning system. As EADS Defence Electronics announced on Thursday, representatives of the Thai State Ministry and the Royal Thai Air Force have signed the acceptance documents at Lop Buri air force base, approximately 150 kilometres north of Bangkok.

Prior to the HELLAS-W (Helicopter Laser Radar Warning) being officially handed over to the Royal Thai Air Force, the HELLAS systems were integrated on site into the two Bell 412 EP helicopters. At the same time, pilots and mechanics were trained and test flights carried out. For the first time, an additional LCD screen was installed in the cockpit of the helicopters and a video camera fitted to the sensor. This means the pilots and passengers can also see the obstacles parallel to the warning displays.

Obstacles that are difficult to make out are always a major threat to helicopters,” explained Bernhard Gerwert, Head of the EADS Defence Electronics Business Unit. “You can however come to grips with this threat by deploying technology that is already available today and greatly enhance the safety of the pilot and passengers as a result.”

The HELLAS helicopter laser radar is the only operational warning equipment in the world that can protect helicopters reliably against obstacles such as high-voltage transmission lines. It scans its surroundings with a laser beam, which is not harmful to the human eye and detects even thin wire at a great distance and with high precision. Wires which cannot be seen by the pilot are detected reliably and timely. The pilot is given information on obstacles in the flight path, such as high-voltage transmission lines, wind power generators or trees, via optical and acoustic signals, which enable evasive action to be taken at an early stage. This means HELLAS reduces the risks encountered during helicopter operations, even under difficult conditions such as low altitude, poor visibility or a landing in unknown terrain and in this way enhances flight safety considerably. The equipment is already used in the helicopters of the German Border Guard.

EADS Defence Electronics is the Group´s Sensors, Avionics and Electronic Warfare House and is an integrated part of the EADS Defence & Security Systems Division (DS). DS, with revenues of about € 5.4 billion in 2004 and roughly 23,000 employees across ten nations, forms the defence and security pillar within EADS. It offers integrated systems solutions to the new challenges confronting armed forces and homeland security units. It is active in the areas of military aircraft, missile systems, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems with manned and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), battlefield management systems, defence electronics, sensors and avionics, and related services.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2004, EADS generated revenues of € 31.8 billion and employed a workforce of about 110,000.

Martin Billeisen
Tel.: +49 (0) 7545 8 3144

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