EC-135 helicopter

Airbus Helicopters has been awarded a contract modification to continue maintenance and upgrade work on the German Army’s fleet of EC135 training helicopters.

The agreement extends a contract signed in 2005 with an additional seven years and requires the company to maintain, overhaul and ensure the availability of 14 EC135 aircraft, which are used by the German Army Aviation School in Bückeburg to train 70 future pilots each year.

Airbus Helicopters Germany Military Support Centre head Ralf Barnscheidt said: "At the core of the Airbus Helicopters full-service contract is ensuring that on virtually every working day, eleven EC135 aircraft are available on the airfield for training purposes.

"This puts the fleet’s operational availability at over 95%.

"A team of technicians that is constantly on-site at the Bückeburg location, as well as our specialist maintenance centre in Kassel-Calden, provide technical and logistical support, [and] carry out through-life maintenance and even large-scale repair work, and are responsible for ensuring the mission readiness of the helicopters."

German Army Aviation School commander and German Army Aviation Corps general colonel Uwe Klein said: "Airbus Helicopters submitted the most cost-effective bid for the service contract, one that is perfectly tailored to the requirements of the German Army Aviation School, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration.

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"Airbus Helicopters submitted the most cost-effective bid for the service contract."

"The on-site teams do tremendous work: We can always count on the helicopters we need being available for each and every training session, even for night flights, so that our people have to perform just the pre-flight check."

The training course at the school trains student pilots to fly a helicopter under visual flight rules and also qualify in instrument flight rules, as well as sensor flight in low-altitude night flight.

In a separate development, the Germany Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support has contracted CAE to continue the provision of a range of maintenance and in-service support at the German Army Aviation School’s Hans E. Drebing simulator centre, until 2021.

Under the contract, the company will provide on-site maintenance and training support services for 12 CAE-built helicopter simulators.

CAE is also providing two additional CH-53GA cockpits to the German Army for use with the roll-on / roll-off at the facility.

Image: The German Army Aviation School uses a fleet of 14 EC135 helicopters to train 70 pilots each year. Photo: courtesy of Airbus Helicopters / Charles Abarr – 2014.