Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
21 October 2011
EUR€2.3 million (USD$2.6 million)
Also Known As: AS350 B3e Ecureuil
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Description: The Fennec/Ecureuil is a family of multi-role helicopters featuring design simplicity, reliability and high performance. The aircraft was developed in the 1970s by Aerospatiale, thereafter Eurocopter and now Airbus Helicopters, as a replacement for the Allouette II. These lightweight helicopters are intended for both commercial and military markets. Fennec designation applies to military helicopters and Ecureuil, which means 'Squirrel' in English, applies to commercial helicopters. These platforms can be powered either by a single turboshaft engine or by two engines (AS 350/550 and AS 355/555 series). Composite materials have been used extensively in the aircraft design making it more durable and lighter. There are many variants of Fennec/Ecureuil helicopter family primarily due to the use of different power plants such as Arriel and Arrius family of engines. The characteristics of Fennec/Ecureuil helicopters also translate into low acquisition costs and low costs of maintenance and operation. Eurocopter has scored a big success through this helicopter family with more than 4,000 aircraft (2,400+ single engine models) sold around the globe so far. First flight was carried out in 1974 and the first delivery in April 1978.
The Airbus Helicopters H125, formerly the Eurocopter AS350 B3e Ecureuil, is an enhanced version of the AS350 B3 light single-engine helicopter. It is powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 2D turboshaft engine along with a new-generation of digital Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) and an engine data recorder for condition monitoring. As an additional option the aircraft can be operated at its maximum takeoff engine power rating for 30 minutes. This offers the opportunity to equip the AS350 B3e with engine filters for a protection during flight in sand and snow conditions without weight penalty. It incorporates tail rotor modifications for additional ease of piloting, and also features an improved interior design. Eurocopter launched the AS350 B3e at Heli-Expo 2011. The Certification is planned for the summer of 2011, with deliveries to begin before the end of the same year. On March 10, 2011, Air Medical Resource Group became the launch customer for the AS350 B3e model ordering three aircraft plus four options.
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