A consortium Eurocopter and Helibras will supply 50 EC725 helicopters, EC725 is the latest addition to the Cougar family, for Brazil's armed forces commencing 2010. The deal was officially announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil following the EU-Brazil summit.
This is the largest contract ever signed in South America and strengthens the European consortium's expansion in South America; EADS has been developing its different activities there for many years: Airbus, ATR, military transport aircraft, space and security equipments.
Eurocopter's subsidiary Helibras has a 50-per cent share of the civil market, a 67-per cent share of the military market, and an 80-per cent share of the parapublic market in Brazil and has trained over 8,000 pilots at its training facilities.
''This is an important achievement for Eurocopter, Helibras and the Brazilian government,'' announced Eurocopter president Lutz Bertling. ''This contract is the result of the close industrial partnership and the long-standing relationship that we have with Brazil, and we are particularly proud that the EC725s will be produced in this country. This contract heralds a new era for Helibras, which will become an outstanding center of aeronautical excellence in South America.''
This contract is part of the joint declaration on defense cooperation signed by the French and Brazilian defense secretaries on 30 June 2008, marking the 30th anniversary of Helibras.
The EC725 is a twin-engine helicopter with a five-bladed main rotor in the medium-lift category 11 metric tons). The aircraft boasts a flight endurance of five-and-a-half hours. The EC725 has been designed to perform various missions, including combat search and rescue, long distance tactical transport, emergency medical services, logistics support, and naval assignments. It was this multi-role capability that made the EC725 the logical choice for the Brazilian armed forces.