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First MRH90 Multi-Role Helicopters Delivered to Australia

The Australian Armed Forces took formally delivery today of the first two of 46 new, large and fast, troop carrying helicopters in Brisbane at Australian Aerospace, Eurocopter subsidiary. This hand-over ceremony, which was preceded by a fly-past of the two MRH90, was attended by an impressive grouping of the nation's leaders, Federal, State and Local government officials, senior officers of the Australian Defence Force, and senior executives of Eurocopter, including CEO Lutz Bertling, Australian Aerospace, EADS and industry partners.

Marignane, 18 December 2007

The Australian Armed Forces took formally delivery today of the first two of 46 new, large and fast, troop carrying helicopters in Brisbane at Australian Aerospace, Eurocopter subsidiary. This hand-over ceremony, which was preceded by a fly-past of the two MRH90, was attended by an impressive grouping of the nation’s leaders, Federal, State and Local government officials, senior officers of the Australian Defence Force, and senior executives of Eurocopter, including CEO Lutz Bertling, Australian Aerospace, EADS and industry partners.

The MRH90 helicopters are the Australian variant of the NH90, the world’s most advanced multi-role helicopter in the ten-tonne class. They are capable of carrying two pilots and 20 fully-equipped combat troops up to 900km at speeds of up to 300km/h. They will replace existing Army Black Hawk and Navy Sea King helicopters.

The first two aircraft arrived in Brisbane last month aboard an Antonov heavy lift air transport from Eurocopter’s main plant in France. Another two MRH90s being manufactured in France will be delivered around the middle of next year.

“This ceremony marks the beginning of a new era for the Australian Army and Navy, as the MRH90 will strongly contribute to the modernization of their operational capabilities. It also marks a significant milestone in the successful cooperation between Eurocopter, its industrial partners and the Australian Authorities, being an on schedule delivery, to the Australian Defence Force” declared Lutz Bertling during the event.

Australia chose the MRH90 over competing types as part of a program to modernize and rationalize its military helicopter fleet with the aim of developing a hardened and networked defence force. The MRH90, a fly-by-wire, all-composite construction, medium-lift helicopter with the highest crash-worthiness standards, was chosen ahead of its U.S. rival, the UH M60Black Hawk.

Following completion of the first four MRH90s and their delivery to Australia, the remaining 42 aircraft will be produced at Australian Aerospace’s Brisbane plant. The MRH90 assembly line was inaugurated in May this year and already work is proceeding on the first four of the locally assembled aircraft. Australia initially ordered 12 MRH90s in 2004 but subsequently increased this to 46. These aircraft will be delivered to the ADF over the next seven years.

Altogether, the MRH-90 program will generate 400 highly skilled new jobs in Australia and inject A$ 1.34 billion into the national economy. A 10-year, through-life support program will also be carried out in Australia.

Expanding local production and support for the MRH90s will make Australia one of the cornerstones of the global supply-chain of the Eurocopter network, which includes its local subsidiary Australian Aerospace Limited.

Provided by NHIndustries, a co-operative industrial consortium comprising Eurocopter (62.5%), Agusta (32%) and Fokker (5.5%), the NH90 has now received 507 orders from 14 countries, including the Australian MRH90 versions, plus nine NH90s for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). Some 24 variants of the original design are been produced.

About Eurocopter

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 14,000 people. In 2006, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 3.8 billion euros, orders for 615 new helicopters, and a 52% percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30% percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 17 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 9,800 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.

100 years of vertical flight

In 1907, Paul Cornu performed history’s first ever vertical flight. Since then, thanks to pioneering spirits, technological advances and innovative minds, the helicopter has become a key to saving lives, protecting citizens and contributing to economic development the world over. In 2007, Eurocopter is proud to celebrate this anniversary and to share its passion for helicopters.

For more information, please contact:

Cécile VION-LANCTUIT
Eurocopter
Tel.: +33 (0)4 42 85 60 51
mailto: cecile.vion-lanctuit@eurocopter.com

Christina GOTZHEIN
Eurocopter
Tel.: + 49 (0) 89 60 00 64 88
mailto: christina.gotzhein@eurocopter.com

Pekkee SUM
Eurocopter
Tel.: +33 (0)4 42 85 17 13
mailto: pekkee.sum@eurocopter.com

Christopher BACH
Eurocopter
Tel.: +49 (0) 906 71 45 65
mailto: christopher.bach@eurocopter.com

Jesus RUIZ
Eurocopter
Tel.: +34 91 379 66 04
mailto: jesus.ruiz@eurocopter.com



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