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Monday, June 25, 2007

France, Germany’s Heavy Lift Interest Could Preserves Eurocopter Role

Don’t count Eurocopter out of the heavy-lift market yet.  At the Paris Air Show, France and Germany’s armament directorates declared their interest in fielding a heavy-lift helicopter in the 2020 timeframe. The agencies said they are “working to harmonize their requirements for operational and tactical airlift and air maneuverability to fill the gap beyond the capabilities” provided by the NHIndustries NH90 (and Germany’s Sikorsky Aircraft CH-53Gs) and the Airbus A400M fixed-wing transport. At the same show, Sikorsky President Jeff Pino indicated there wasn’t much of a possible role left for Eurocopter in its CH-53K program to develop a new heavy lifter for the U.S. Marine Corps. The market for a new heavy-lift helicopter is estimated at only 300-400 aircraft. That’s hardly enough to justify two aircraft development program, with the CH-53K accounting for the lion’s share. But a -53K derivative from Eurocopter might, particularly since the Europeans want their aircraft later than the Marines, and they do not have the constraint of fielding a helicopter that can fit in the same spot on ships as the CH-53E. For related news
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