The initial two Eurocopter EC725 helicopters for the Royal Malaysian Air Force were formally presented today during a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, with the first unit being delivered on time and the second unit coming three months ahead of schedule.
Malaysia is to receive a total of 12 EC725s through 2014, creating a highly capable fleet of rotorcraft for search & rescue and utility missions.
“Our EC725s will significantly improve the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s capabilities and ensure its helicopter inventory is modern, mission-ready and reliable,” said Defense Minister Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The no. 1 EC725 was first unveiled to Malaysia in December 2011 via a live video broadcast from Eurocopter’s Marignane, France headquarters – organized just after its rollout from the production line. It was beamed to Malaysia’s Langkawi Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition, for an audience that included Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. One year later, the first helicopter arrived in Malaysia on schedule, along with Eurocopter’s handover of the second EC725 three months in advance of the contractual delivery schedule.
“This delivery milestone is the result of the collective effort and great co-operation between the teams from Royal Malaysian Air Force and Eurocopter working towards a common goal,” highlighted Olivier Lambert, Eurocopter’s Senior Vice President for Sales and Customer Relations. “We are committed to ensure the successful delivery of the remaining orders, and stand ready to provide for all of Malaysia’s future mission needs.”
In supporting the deliveries of Malaysia’s EC725s and enhancing Eurocopter’s in-country support and services activities, the Eurocopter Malaysia subsidiary will double its capabilities by moving from its main facility in Subang to a new, expanded site within the Malaysian International Aerospace Center in early 2013.
Additionally, Eurocopter is executing a series of strategic cooperation projects that will include the participation of local industry in ensuring full support for this important delivery and the expansion of Malaysia’s helicopter market. This includes the integration of the country’s industry into its global supply chain, the creation of joint ventures with local companies to establish an in- country MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility, as well as the development of a regional full-flight simulation center. The full-flight simulation center will be used for training Royal Malaysian Air Force crews and made available for other military and civilian operators of the medium-lift EC725/EC225 helicopter family in the Asia Pacific region.
All of these cooperative projects are aligned with Malaysia’s vision and objective in strengthening Malaysian strategic aeronautical skills and capabilities through strategic partnerships, which also include specific attention in education through the development of aeronautical training capabilities in association with Malaysian Universities.
“Meeting excellence in our delivery and industrial promises for Malaysia is a top priority for Eurocopter,” explained Pierre Rossignol, President and CEO of the Eurocopter Malaysia subsidiary. “As promised ten years ago, we continue our journey towards expansion and look forward to more decades of growth and excellence in the new facility, ensuring full support to all our Malaysian customers while creating new jobs and contributing to the local economy.”