The Swiss procurement agency, armasuisse, and Eurocopter signed a contract for 20 helicopters on April 25th in Berne, Switzerland. Under the Swiss Light Transport and Training Helicopter (LTSH) program, 18 EC635 for utility and advanced training missions and two EC135 for VIP/parliamentarian transport missions have been ordered. The contract was signed by Dr. Alfred Markwalder, Chief of Armament and Peter Lyoth, Director Federal Office for Weapon Systems for the Swiss government and by Philippe Harache, Executive Vice President Customers Directorate of Eurocopter and Dr. Lutz Bertling, Executive Vice President Governmental Helicopters of Eurocopter and CEO of Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH.
Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH is prime contractor. Deliveries of the helicopters will take place between the beginning of 2008 and the end of 2009. The first four machines will be delivered from Eurocopter Deutschland’s facility in Donauwörth, while the next 16 aircraft will be assembled and delivered by RUAG in Alpnach, Switzerland. RUAG will also be responsible for level O, level I and level D maintenance of the Swiss Army’s EC635s/EC135s throughout their service life.
The EC635s/EC135s will successively replace the Swiss Army’s Alouette III helicopters. According to Dr. Lutz Bertling, "the selection of the EC635/EC135 by the Swiss Armed Forces, renowned for their professionalism and top-class international standards, further underlines the high quality and military capability of our best-selling light twin".
The Swiss Army is the second customer for the EC635 following the Royal Jordanian Air Force which already has nine in operational service since 2003 and recently placed a firm order for an additional four, plus an option for three more.
Certified in 2001, the EC635 is the military version of the highly successful light twin-engine EC135 helicopter. It is one of the most versatile helicopters on the market today. It is designed to carry out military/paramilitary and public security missions, also including search and rescue, troop transport, reconnaissance/observation, scout missions, training and vertical replenishment. The EC635 is also ideal for disaster relief and humanitarian aid missions, for medevac and for the transport of loads, medical supplies and food.
Its internal equipment can be easily interchanged. For instance, the user can select one of several seating layouts, or install medical apparatus. The roomy 4.6 cubic-meter cabin is free of obstacles. Cabin access is via two lateral sliding doors - plus via two large-size rear doors - a feature not offered by any of the competitors. Thanks to the two rear clamshell doors and the shrouded Fenestron® tail rotor, loading/unloading is performed in conditions of complete safety.
Among the exceptional qualities of the EC635 are its outstanding operational effectiveness, its day and night mission capability, including NVG missions, its high performance, and its modern maintenance concept which is particularly noteworthy. Most of the main components are subject to on-condition maintenance, which minimizes the time needed for maintenance.
Picture of EC635 provided and copyrighted by Eurocopter
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