Eurocopter, Turbomeca, WZL 1 Sign Cooperation Agreement
Eurocopter and Turbomeca (Safran) announced the signature of industrial cooperation agreements with Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze No. 1 (WZL-1) that include the creation of two separate full assembly lines within Poland for the EC725 Caracal helicopter and its Makila 2 turboshaft engines in the framework of this country’s current tender for 70 new multi-role helicopters.
The agreement brings together the resources of rotorcraft manufacturer Eurocopter, engine manufacturer Turbomeca and WZL-1, ensuring a comprehensive in-country industrial work package that also includes training for locally-hired workers, along with a comprehensive maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capability that will last far beyond the duration of the contract itself – and potentially be open to future export contracts.
This builds on the long-term approach of Eurocopter and its parent company EADS to cooperatively develop Poland’s aviation capabilities, led by EADS’ 2001 acquisition of PZL Warsawa-Okecie – the country’s longest-established aviation manufacturer. The long-standing strategy is strengthened by Eurocopter’s supply of more than 50 helicopters to Polish operators - including 23 EC135s for Poland’s LPR (Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe) in a modernization of the country’s nationwide emergency medical services network, making it one of the most modern in Europe. This cooperation has set the standard for a governmental operator transitioning from a Soviet-era rotorcraft type to a modern Western helicopter.
“As the world’s leading helicopter manufacturer, Eurocopter will offer the solution best suited to meet Poland’s operational mission requirements with the EC725 Caracal – which has proven its reliability and efficiency on many battlefields,” said Olivier Lambert, Eurocopter’s Senior Vice President for Sales and Customer Relations.
“We are now positioned to provide an unmatched industrial commitment that continues a proven track record with manufacturers and operators around the world. The cooperation also exemplifies another step in the expansion of the European defense industry,” he added.
The EC725 Caracal is a modern, multi-role 11-metric-ton-class helicopter designed for armed operations, troop transport, rescue duties and logistics support. Equipped with a five-blade main rotor system and the latest in avionics and systems, it carries up to 29 passengers in addition to the flight crew. Flight endurance is 5.5 hours with the helicopter’s impressive fuel capacity.
As a rotorcraft of choice for military forces worldwide, current EC725 Caracal customers range from France, Brazil and Mexico to Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Its capabilities were validated by EC725 Caracal combat deployments with French forces in Afghanistan and in supporting France’s role during NATO-led operations for the Libyan military campaign and Mali. Deployed in the most challenging theatres of operations, the EC725 Caracal is today the only heavy, single platform, modern and combat proven helicopter on the market able to perform the widest range of missions.