The planned production of 50 Eurocopter EC725 helicopters, soon to begin at its Brazilian subsidiary Helibras new assembly line Itajubá in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil will lead to Helibras doubling its staff strength to that of 600 persons with a reinforced engineering centre. So far Eurocopter has established a strong presence in Latin America, through three subsidiaries in Brazil, Mexico and Chile employing about 500 people. Being the only helicopter manufacturer with production facilities in Latin America, Eurocopter has about a thousand helicopters in service in the continent. The AStar/Ecureuil model is made in Brazil (known as Esquilo) and the new EC725 will be ready soon. Initial deliveries for the Navy are expected next year (2010). Subsequent deliveries are planned for the Air Force and Army. Initial export orders are also coming – the Mexican Ministry of Defense has ordered six EC725s in March 2009.
Another element of the Brazilian EC725 program is the integrated training and logistics support. At LAAD Eurocopter is introducing the first flight simulator for the EC725 helicopter, which will also become the first helicopter flight simulator ‘flying’ in Latin America. The new flight simulator, to be installed in Rio de Janeiro will be operational in two years. According to Eurocopter President Lutz Bertling, his company is investing significant effort in simulator development “Eurocopter’s strategy is to develop its support and services activity and to promote a proactive pilot training policy” stated Bertling, “Over the last few months, we have introduced numerous simulators for the EC225 in France, the EC135 in Germany and the United States, and the NH90 in Germany. The forthcoming introduction of the EC725 simulator in Brazil and in Malaysia will broaden our offer and meet the expectations of our customers in this growing area of strategic importance.