EC 635 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)
The H135M (formerly known as the EC635 T2e/P2e) is the enhanced military version of Airbus Helicopters’ 3-ton-class EC135 twin-engine rotorcraft for operations in today’s modern battlefield. Thanks to a highly adaptable airframe, the H135M is capable of performing a large variety of missions, including ground fire support, utility, and medical evacuation.
Airbus Helicopters announced a rebranding initiative in 2015 under which the EC-labeled designations of many of its helicopters were replaced by H-labeled designations [H for “helicopter”]. Military versions had the letter M at the end of the designation. The AS 350B2, AS 365N3+, AS 565MBe, EC 145e, AS 332C1e, AS 332L1e, AS 532ALe, Tiger, and NH90. retained their current designations.
The EC 635 - Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is the military version of the EC 135 and applies the same technology. It is built by the EUROCOPTER Group, owned 70% by AEROSPATIALE France and 30% by Daimler Aerospace (DASA) of Germany. The EC 635 is a light-weight twin-engined, eight seats multi - role helicopter with wide use of composite material and crashworthy designed seats and fuel system. New generation high set main rotor and shrouded tail rotor systems (Fenestron type) provide low noise and safe operation. High operational efficiency, adverse weather day / night operations, high performance with power reserve and an advanced maintenance concept are among the key features of the EC 635.
The military EC 635 is offered with two powerplant options. The FADEC controlled Turbomeca Arrius 2B1 or the Pratt &Whitney 206B engines provide fast cruising speed and long range. Utilising the aircraft's inherent multi - role capability the EC 635 is suited for military and para - military operations as utility, training, troop transport, reconnaissance and SAR. The helicopter's cabin is accessible through side sliding doors and two large rear clam-shell doors, is particularly suited for disaster relief missions and humanitarian aid.
Fitted with Airbus Helicopters’ signature Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor and bearingless main rotor, this twin-engine helicopter delivers excellent performance, range and payload capacity. The sophisticated avionics system, which features Airbus Helicopters innovations such as the Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD), ensures that pilots focus exclusively on their mission. These technologies dramatically simplify the pilot’s workload, while increasing mission efficiency and flight safety. The H135M designations signify availability of two engine options: Turbomeca’s Arrius 2B2 for the H135M; and Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PWC 206B2 for the H135M, both fitted with full authority digital engine controls (FADEC).
With a mechanically-resilient design – including redundant electrical, oil cooling and hydraulic systems, as well as a large array of optional defensive equipment – the H135M provides a reference in survivability. In addition, the crashworthy and energy-absorbing fuselage was designed to support passenger and crew safety.
The H135M’s diverse selection of optional equipment – including an incremental weapons system – makes this aircraft extremely versatile and the perfect platform for duties such as armed scout, light utility, command and control, and training missions. Its large, unobstructed cabin, oversized sliding side doors and rear clamshell doors enable rapid loading/unloading – even with the rotors turning – which facilitates operations during time-sensitive missions.
Airbus Helicopters delivered approximately 1,200 helicopters H135 family of customers around the world by 2015. Their total flight time is more than 3 million hours. About a quarter of the world fleet H135 is used as medical helicopters.; in this segment the market share of the whole company is about 60%.
Airbus Helicopters Company announced the opening of China's final assembly line of multi-purpose twin-engine helicopters H135 (former name - EC135). The corresponding letter of intent was signed on 30 October 2015 between the manufacturer and the Sino-German Ecopark (industrial park), located in the city of Qingdao in eastern China. According to the document the 10 years since the opening of the line on it is to be collected 100 H135. The company stressed that it is the first line of the final assembly of its helicopters in China.
The agreement also provides for the opening of the H135 sales office of the Chinese manufacture for local operators and service center. In addition, in China it will be possible to learn the piloting of aircraft. Creating industrial center will provide Airbus Helicopters long-term presence in one of the fastest growing aviation market, the company stressed.
The OJSC Urals Civil Aviation Plant (UZGA, part of the state corporation Oboronprom) and the company Airbus signed a license contract for the production Airbus Helicopters H135s in Moscow on 25 January 2016. UZGA signed another two agreements with the French company Turbomeka. Under that contract, UZGA will assemble Arrius B2BPlus engines for the Airbus Helicopters H135s and conduct technical maintenance of the engines.
The OJSC Urals Civil Aviation Plant is part of the state corporation Oboronprom. It is one of the largest aviation plants in Russia. Its main areas of activity are maintenance of aviation gas-turbine engines and their components, main gear-reduction boxes, and gas aviation gear. Airbus Helicopters is a division of Airbus Group. It specializes in military and civil helicopter development.
The European helicopter manufacturer Airbus Helicopters can start producing H135 helicopters in Russia in 2017, the press service of the company told TASS on 13 May 2016. The company closed an agreement with the Russian helicopter plant UWCA for manufacturing of helicopters of this model early in 2016.
"This kind of project takes time to implement and the planning is still being set up. The current target is to start production and operation in 2017," the press service said. The project requires UWCA to obtain certification from the Russian aviation authorities, the press service reported. "This creates a real potential for extending the scope of the local content (work or procurement) depending on the success of these helicopters and EMS services in Russia," it added.
The EU sanctions on Russia make no impact on this partnership, the company said. "There is no impact as this is a purely civil helicopter partnership and UWCA is not under sanction. Airbus Helicopters’ priority is to develop the EMS market in Russia that is aimed at saving lives," the press service said.
In the next 10 years at the Ural Works of Civil Aviation (UZGA) planned to collect about 160 light twin-engine Airbus Helicopters H135 helicopters (the former name - EC135 T3 / P3).
The H135 helicopter is a light helicopter with two engines and is mainly used for emergency medical services and police work. Airbus Helicopters has delivered 1,200 H135 helicopters globally. Airbus Helicopters Inc, a unit of Airbus Group SE, said on 31 October 2015 that China will buy 100 H135 helicopters over the next 10 years as part of a deal to set up a final assembly line in Qingdao, Shandong province.
The company said the deal gave it an edge in China, one of the fastest-growing global markets for helicopters. The deal is worth about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), according to a report from Reuters. The European company signed a cooperation letter of intent with the Qingdao-based Sino-Germany Eco Park where the final assembly line will be based during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to China.
Airbus Helicopters will build a complete ecosystem in China, including a final assembly line, a sales team for China-assembled H135s, as well as employing support staff for maintenance and training services, the helicopter maker said.
"This is a significant development that will help increase our market share and also provide proven and certified solutions in the Chinese market," said Norbert Ducrot, Airbus Helicopters' China president. Airbus Helicopters already had a 40 percent share of the Chinese civil helicopter market.
China is becoming the world’s largest market for helicopters and in which the European rotorcraft manufacturer keeps increasing its footprint. Statistics from the Civil Aviation Administration of China showed that the number of civil helicopters in the country increased from 387 in 2013 to 524 in 2014, a 37.5 percent year-on-year growth. "The number of Chinese civil helicopters is growing, although the quantity is still small," Yin Shijun, director of CAAC's airworthiness certification division, said at the China Heli-Expo in September. Airbus Helicopters also received orders for more than 110 helicoptters from three Chinese clients at the China Heli-Expo.
The H135 is one of the most popular light twin-engine helicopters in China currently, performing mainly helicopter emergency medical services and police missions. With the expected increase in civil and parapublic services demand for helicopters as China’s general aviation market continues to expand,
the set up of the H135 FAL is a timely development.
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