New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Marking a key milestone in India's development of heliborne resources to support lifesaving missions, an agreement was signed Thursday in the presence of visiting French President Francois Hollande for an order for an initial batch of seven Eurocopter EC135 choppers for helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operations.
A second order is expected later this year and rapid growth is anticipated in the HEMS market - as many as 50 helicopters are expected to be deployed throughout the country in the coming years, a Eurocopter statement said.
With first deliveries planned to take place by late 2013, AVIATORS Ltd. is establishing itself as a pioneering HEMS operator in the country, the statement said.
"As the EC135 is a global reference in helicopter emergency medical services, it is highly appropriate that AVIATORS will introduce such operations in India with these extremely capable helicopters," said Norbert Ducrot, Eurocopter's senior vice president for Asia Pacific.
The EC135 is operated worldwide for a broad range of missions, including HEMS, law enforcement, rescue operations and business aviation.
Equipped with a Fenestron shrouded tail rotor and bearing-less main rotor, the helicopter delivers excellent performance, range and payload capacity.
Its large, unobstructed cabin, oversized sliding side doors and rear clamshell doors enable rapid loading/unloading of patients and equipment - even with the rotors turning - which facilitates operations during time-critical emergency medical missions.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 22,000 people.
In 2012, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the World's No. 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 6.3 billion euros, orders for 469 new helicopters and a 44 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.
Overall, the Group's helicopters account for 33 percent of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. There are currently more than 11,780 Eurocopter helicopters in service in 148 countries.