Eurocopter and the German air rescue organisation DRF Luftrettung signed a purchase agreement last night for 25 helicopters of the newest generation - the EC145 T2. This purchase makes the air rescue organisation Europe's largest customer for this type of helicopter. With the purchase of these aircraft, the DRF Luftrettung will successively replace the BK 117s in its red-and-white helicopter fleet. The DRF Luftrettung is to put the first five aircraft into operation in 24-hour air rescue service in the window from December 2013 to the end of 2015. The helicopters, developed and produced at Eurocopter in Germany, comprise an order volume of close to EUR 200 million.
The remaining 20 helicopters in this order are to be delivered in phases through 2022. All EC145 T2 helicopters ordered by the DRF Luftrettung will be produced in Donauworth, Germany and delivered to the customer from there following final assembly. The DRF Luftrettung, based in Filderstadt, operates a total of 31 helicopter stations in Germany, Austria and Denmark, eight of them in 24-hour service. Equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology, these aircraft are used for rapid emergency rescue and for transporting intensive-care patients between clinics. The crews comprise experienced pilots, emergency physicians and rescue assistants of the DRF Luftrettung.
At the signing, Dr. Wolfgang Schoder, member of the Executive Committee of Eurocopter and responsible for all helicopter programmes, declared, "The conclusion of this forward-looking agreement with the DRF Luftrettung is particularly satisfying for us, as it affirms once more our position as the world's leading provider of helicopters in the air rescue segment. I am also just as pleased by the fact that with this agreement we are continuing a long-standing partnership with the DRF Luftrettung that has been a success on both sides."
DRF Luftrettung and Eurocopter - a partnership from day one
When saving human lives, every minute counts. Getting the right medical care to where it's needed in the shortest possible time is the key to success. Since 1973, the DRF Luftrettung has been building an international reputation with its helicopter fleet. And Eurocopter has been a part of this story from day one - starting with the Alouette III and continuing with the BO 105 and BK 117 to the EC 135 and EC 145. A total of 46 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with the DRF Luftrettung. In 2010 alone, this non-profit organisation flew 36,900 rescue missions.
"To meet our own high quality targets, the DRF Luftrettung has been setting standards in the areas of flight operations, technology and medicine for many years. Top priority is on safety and efficiency, so the continuing development of the helicopters we deploy is essential," declared Dr. Hans Jorg Eyrich, member of the Board of Directors of the DRF Luftrettung, at the signing. "The EC 145 T2 is excellently suited for air rescue missions thanks to its performance capability and the Fenestron. Particularly in night rescue missions, the shrouded tail rotor provides a further measure of safety. We already made an important step toward further developing night rescue operation procedures back in 2008 when we introduced night vision goggles as the only air rescue organisation Germany-wide to have done so. After Munich and Regensburg, we will soon be flying night-time emergency operations with night vision goggles from Berlin as well. With the deployment of the EC 145 T2 in our 24-hour operations, we will be able to rely on a helicopter that is optimally suited for the broadly varied requirements of modern air rescue," the DRF Luftrettung director added.
The EC 145 T2: the new helicopter generation made in Germany
This aircraft combines the technical know-how of the proven BK 117 and the EC 145 with new and innovative developments. One novel feature of the EC 145 T2 that is immediately noticeable is the complete tail boom with the Fenestron: a recognisable and well-known feature of Eurocopter helicopters that enhances safety for passengers and pilots on the ground and in the air. Further important features are the greatly improved performance capacity, particularly in single-engine operation, as well as the aircraft's low noise level, which makes this helicopter the quietest in its class. A newly developed avionics system with a four-axis autopilot and satellite-based navigation assumes many tasks for the pilot, thus heightening flight safety on board. In addition to air rescue missions, this versatile machine is made for a wide range of missions; the focus is on the market segments police and official authorities, business flight, oil and gas and wind turbine maintenance.
With the largest fleet of helicopters in air rescue service world-wide, Eurocopter is number one in this segment. Practical mission experience collected over decades in close cooperation with customers is incorporated directly in new technologies that again and again redefine the global state of the art.
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