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Since 1984, Airbus Helicopters has been a proud member of Canada’s aerospace industry, and is the leading provider of helicopters in the North American market.
In fact, the aerospace giant is a global reference in the military market — and the proof is in the numbers. More than 100 armed forces around the world place their trust in Airbus Helicopters to provide them with reliable solutions to complete their missions.
With deep experience building aircraft for the defence sector, Airbus Helicopters is committed to serving the wide array of military operational needs. Its aircraft are specially adapted to outperform on all types of military missions.
The dual engine platforms that are among its product offerings provide increased safety levels in the most challenging environments and advanced avionics for ease in pilot workload.
For instance, first class militaries turn to the H145 platform for its versatility — the German special forces operate the H145M, while the U.S. Army operates an H145 variant under the UH-72 Lakota designation.
The H145M is designed to conduct intelligence, provide transportation, and carry out fire missions successfully — whether it’s during the day or night and in the most adverse weather conditions and obscured visibility.
Other military platforms of interest include the H160M, where France plans to replace five fleets of helicopters in three branches of the French Armed Forces with the H160M Guépard, and the H175M, which is a contender for the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement — a U.K. military program to procure a new medium-lift support helicopter to replace existing helicopters operated by the Royal Air Force and British Army.
The H135 has become the aircraft of choice for pilot training programs within many military organizations globally, including the U.K. Military Flying Training System, the Australian Army and Navy, and now the Moroccan Forces Royale Air, which chose this aircraft earlier this year.
A full spectrum trainer, the H135 offers dual engines and facilitates the development of core skills with the onboard avionics — similar to more complex operational helicopters within the military fleet, allowing easy and safe pilot transition.
Although the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) doesn’t yet have an Airbus helicopter fleet in its current inventory, Airbus Helicopters believes its full spectrum of creative and robust solutions puts it in the prime position to meet the demands of the Canadian Armed Forces.
As the top helicopter manufacturer in the world, Airbus Helicopters boasts the largest civil and military range of some 20,000+ helicopters, delivered to 150 countries. There are about 12,000 Airbus helicopters in service today, but the company is not settling for status quo — Airbus Helicopters continues to invest heavily in the future of vertical lift.
As the Government of Canada prepares to release its new national defence policy, it is expected that the policy will enable the RCAF to look beyond existing capabilities and aircraft models, and embrace future next-generation platforms. Airbus Helicopters is closely monitoring the developments of future programs, such as the next Tactical Aviation Capability Set (nTACS) program, which explores the vertical lift capability for the RCAF beyond the life of the current fleet.
The company believes that with its current military programs and its participation in NATO’s Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) program, Airbus Helicopters will be well positioned to answer the call when the time comes. The aerospace company is eager to participate in industry engagements with the Government of Canada, as well as take part in an open and competitive bid process.
The classic Canadian procurement model requires every project to be staffed independently for approval — a process that can take years or even decades, potentially causing shortfalls with near-term capabilities. Airbus Helicopters believes it can provide the appropriate solutions to support the RCAF and the men and women serving, who must remain agile to adapt to an ever-changing world.
Rotary-wing search and rescue (RWSAR) missions in the Great Lakes region could serve as a suitable case to test alternative solutions. As a company located on the shores of Lake Erie and in the Great Lakes region since 1984, Airbus Helicopters is motivated to bolster RWSAR coverage in the region in order to meet required capabilities.
The Government of Canada and the RCAF should know that there are several Canadian operators that are ready to help with various options, such as service contracts that could be implemented on a much shorter timeline.
Headquartered in Fort Erie, Ontario, Airbus Helicopters has a team of nearly 250 employees, as well as sales support in Montreal, Que., and a 24/7 customer service network coast-to-coast. Airbus Helicopters currently supports a fleet of more than 760 helicopters flown by 220 operators across the country.
Across its divisions — helicopters, commercial aircraft, and defence and space — Airbus currently employs over 4,000 people in Canada supporting aerospace throughout the country.
Its helicopters division is focused on five primary areas when it comes to its activities in Canada. Those include aircraft sales and deliveries, composite manufacturing, repair and overhaul, supplemental type certificates/options development, and support and services.
Due to its competitiveness, the Fort Erie facility is a centre of excellence for engineering and composite manufacturing, and is the sole source supplier for eight different Airbus helicopter types flying around the world.
The repair and overhaul department provides overhaul services and dynamic component repair to Airbus helicopter operators worldwide for the light single-engine product ranges. Today, more than 50 per cent of the workforce in Fort Erie works on products for export.