Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: ACH130 and EC130 T2
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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 H130, formerly the Eurocopter EC 130, is a single engine rotorcraft conceived to provide further space, seating capacity, comfort and low vibration levels to the Fennec/Ecureuil family of helicopters. The H130/EC130 T2 is a new version featuring enhanced comfort, improved operational performance and increased versatility unveiled in February 2012 at Heli-Expo in Dallas, Texas. Seven launch customers placed orders for 105 EC130 T2 aircraft to serve in a variety of roles such as aerial tourism and utility to emergency medical airlift. The launch customers are: Maverick Helicopters, Papillon Helicopters, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Scandinavian Helicopter Group, Air Commander, Europavia and Enloe FlightCare. Compared with the EC130, the EC130 T2 retains its existing external lines but approximately 70 percent of the airframe structure has been modified. The first flight of the EC130 T2 was carried out in 2011, certification is planned for 2012 summer and the first aircraft is scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2012 becoming the new production standard.
The H130/EC130 T2 is powered by a more powerful and more fuel efficient Turbomeca Arriel 2D turboshaft engine rated at 952-shp and also includes an upgraded main gearbox. Besides, the helicopter incorporates active vibration control system; improved air ventilation, distribution and demisting systems; a cabin interior structure redesign with a full flat floor; a cockpit update for enhanced man-machine interface; new energy-absorbing seats that improve weight and balance for passenger loading; integration of a crashworthy fuel tank; and increased maintenance accessibility for electrical and air conditioning systems.
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