Eurocopter has identified over “20 concrete prospects” in five sub-Saharan African countries for its EC145 light utility helicopter, two of which are already in service with the Gendarmerie Royale Maroc. A militarised version of the rotorcraft is also in service with the US Army as the UH-72A Lakota. Some 345 have been ordered to date with more than 100 delivered on time.
The company is marketing the helicopter to military, law enforcement, civil protection, emergency management service, private and utility operators in South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana among other nations.
The European rotorcraft giant says the EC145 “is the most versatile helicopters in its class and in service around the world in a multitude of missions such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, utility, harbour piloting, offshore oil and gas services and VIP/corporate services.” The latest state-of-the-art mission equipment packages are available to meet the most demanding customer requirements.
In operation on land and at sea, the EC145 is at the top of its class in the intermediate-sized, twin-engine helicopter category, Eurocopter says. “With up to 12 seats for pilots and passengers, this multi-mission helicopter combines Eurocopter’s latest developments such as an advanced cockpit design, avionics and a sophisticated electrical system. The EC145 boasts a proven hingeless rotor system with a monolithic titanium hub and enhanced composite rotor blades which ensure low noise and vibration level.
“The EC145 is equipped with two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 engines which provide outstanding performance and vital power reserves even in one-engine-inoperative (OEI) scenarios. The EC145’s twin-engine reliability is enhanced by a completely separate fuel system, a tandem hydraulic system, a dual electrical system and redundant lubrication for the main transmission. Further built-in safety aspects include energy-absorbing fuselage and seats and crash-resistant fuel cells. In addition, the EC145 allows for Category A operations up to performance class 1 and 2 according to JAR-OPS 3.
“Compared to other helicopters in its class, the EC145 offers a significantly larger cabin featuring excellent outside visibility for pilots, crew and passengers, with no partitions, centre or door posts and unrivalled side and rear loading capability. It features the same, large rear clamshell doors as Eurocopter’s proven BO105, BK117 and EC135, all of which are in service with Southern African customers. New state-of-the-art energy absorbing high density seats allow to place up to 10 passengers in the cabin.
“Latest new developments include: Inlet Barrier Filter System (IBF), self sealing fuel supply tank, IRIDIUM satellite communication and tracking system Flightdeck (SkyConnect), HF9000 radio system, passenger address system and audio-in for stereo intercom system (Becker ACU 6100).
The EC145 also offers simplified maintenance and impressive flight endurance (up to 680km) and is noteworthy for its low noise level which is 6.7 dB beneath the International Civil Aircraft Organization standards for helicopters in this class. More than 350 EC145s are in service worldwide, having accumulated over 390,000 flight hours.”