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Rescue service orders helicopters
by Staff Writers
Marignane, France (UPI) Nov 16, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Eurocopter has announced the German air rescue organization DRF Luftrettung has signed a purchase agreement for 25 EC145 T2 aircraft.

The aircraft -- the first five of which will be delivered between December 2013 and the end of 2915 -- will replace DRF Lufttrettubg's BK 117s helicopters.

Eurocopter said the remaining 20 helicopters will be delivered through 2022. All EC145 T2 helicopters ordered by the DRF Luftrettung will be produced in Donauworth, Germany.

The value of the agreement was given as nearly $271.6 million.

"The conclusion of this forward-looking agreement with the DRF Luftrettung is particularly satisfying for us, as it affirms once more our position as the world's leading provider of helicopters in the air rescue segment," said Wolfgang Schoder, member of the Executive Committee of Eurocopter. "I am also just as pleased by the fact that with this agreement we are continuing a long-standing partnership with the DRF Luftrettung that has been a success on both sides."

The rescue company, based in Filderstadt, Germany, operates 31 helicopter stations in Germany, Austria and Denmark. Eight of those provide 24-hour service. Its aircraft are equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology and are used for rapid emergency rescue and for transporting intensive-care patients between clinics.

DRF Luftrettung, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1972. In 2010 alone, its helicopters flew 36,900 missions.

Eurocopter said it has been a part of DRF Luftrettung's story from the beginning, starting with the Alouette III helicopter and continuing with the BO 105 and BK 117 to the EC 135 and EC 145. A total of number of helicopters now in service with the DRF Luftrettung is 46.

"To meet our own high-quality targets, the DRF Luftrettung has been setting standards in the areas of flight operations, technology and medicine for many years," said Hans Jorg Eyrich, member of the board of directors of the DRF Luftrettung. "Top priority is on safety and efficiency, so the continuing development of the helicopters we deploy is essential.

"The EC 145 T2 is excellently suited for air rescue missions thanks to its performance capability and the Fenestron. Particularly in night rescue missions, the shrouded tail rotor provides a further measure of safety.

"We already made an important step toward further developing night rescue operation procedures back in 2008 when we introduced night vision goggles as the only air rescue organization Germany-wide to have done so," he said. "After Munich and Regensburg, we will soon be flying night-time emergency operations with night vision goggles from Berlin as well. With the deployment of the EC 145 T2 in our 24-hour operations, we will be able to rely on a helicopter that is optimally suited for the broadly varied requirements of modern air rescue."

The EC 145 T2, manufactured by Eurocopter, an EADS company, is made it Germany. The company said it combines the technical know-how of the proven BK 117 and the EC 145 with new and innovative developments, including a complete tail boom with the Fenestron, a shrouded rotor with eight to 18 blades that increases torque control efficiency and reduces power need.

Other features include a newly developed avionics system with a four-axis auto-pilot and satellite-based navigation.

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