Brazilian AS350’s getting upgrades

Eurocopter’s Helibras subsidiary to modernize 36 AS350 Ecureuil helicopters operated by the Brazilian Army Aviation Command. Photo: Guilherme Wiltgen - Forças Terrestre

The Brazilian army fleet of AS350 Ecureuil helicopters is to undergo modernization by the Brazilian subsidiary of Eurocopter. Upgrading of 36 aircraft will span over 7 years and is expected to be completed in 2018. Work will be performed at Eurocopter’s Helibras facilities in Brazil (Helicopteros do Brasil) in the state of Minas Gerais.

“Technology has made huge leaps since the first AS350 entered service, with the use of digital avionics and computers providing better safety and performance, along with a lower workload for pilots,” said Helibras President Eduardo Marson. “The application of our modernization package to the AS350 will significantly improve this helicopter’s versatility for the Brazilian Army Aviation Command, and we are offering these enhancements for other Ecureuil operators in Brazil as well.”

AS350 (Eagle 6) of the São Paulo State Military Police

The single-engine, multipurpose AS350 entered service with the Brazilian Army Aviation Command more than two decades ago and the current upgrade program will extend their lifespan for at least 25 additional years. The modernization includes the installation of a glass cockpit with three large liquid crystal displays, the integration of an Automatic Flight Control System with autopilot, and the use of improved seats for pilots for better visibility and enhanced protection.

The new avionics suite employing displays from Sagem Avionics Lic. (Safran Group) and computer systems from Aeroeletronica, to be integrated  by Helibras in Brazil. The displays will be supplied by Sagem Avionics Inc.