Photo: Airbus Helicopters press release
Marignane, Airbus Helicopters has been awarded a contract by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) to retrofit the avionics suite of the 35 EC145 helicopters operated by the Sécurité Civile, an agency of the French Ministry of Interior that performs critical search and rescue and medical evacuation services throughout the French territory.
As part of this retrofit, all aircraft will be equipped with an improved avionics suite allowing them to retain their ability to perform missions in all weather conditions with the highest levels of safety, while at the same time complying with the latest Performance Based Navigation regulations.
“We are very proud of the trust that the Sécurité Civile has placed in our support and services with this second contract in less than a year” said Matthieu Louvot, Airbus Helicopters Executive Vice President Customer Support and Services. “It is a great honour for us to be confirmed as the industrial partner of choice by this reference EC145 operator to which we are also providing a comprehensive, nose-to-tail global service solution”.
The retrofit of the 35 aircraft follows on from the global services solution contract for the Sécurité Civile and Gendarmerie Nationale’s EC145 fleet awarded at the end of 2015. The aircraft, with this new contract managed by the Military Support Centre France (MSC-F), will be retrofitted over a seven-year period by Airbus Helicopters personnel deployed at the Sécurité Civile base in Nîmes in order to minimise the impact on the operational activity. The mechanical and electrical modifications necessary to integrate functions such as LPV/SBAS guidance, digital maps, and GPS installations have also been optimized to reduce the length of the retrofit operations.
“This retrofit programme ensures that our EC145s will remain capable of meeting the most demanding operational requirements with the highest levels of safety”, said Victor Devouge, head of aviation means for the Sécurité Civile. “This fleet is now enjoying an availability rate of around 95% which is absolutely essential in allowing us to perform our daily operations”, he added.
Established in 1957, the helicopter division of the Sécurité Civile operates a fleet of 35 EC145 on call 24/7 throughout France for search and rescue and medical evacuation missions. In 2015 alone they flew over 16,000 flight hours, rescuing 16,000 people.
The MSC-F is a dedicated Airbus Helicopters organisation designed to support all French military and state customers by providing them with the most tailored services fitting their specific needs. The creation of this entity illustrates Airbus Helicopters’ commitment to service quality and performance to keep customers flying, anytime, anywhere.