EC175 - Barely a month after the agreement was signed by Eurocopter
and HAIG(1) (see Rotor Journal No. 65) for the development, industrialization,
and series production of the EC175, a new helicopter in the 6-7 metric ton class,
the joint Eurocopter-China Design Office has begun work in Marignane.
Since 16 January, about 30 Chinese citizens have been working at the joint Eurocopter- China Design Office created for the EC175 program. For almost a year, the Design Office will welcome up to 50 Chinese engineers in order to define the basic industrial and technical conditions for the cooperation on this helicopter. With Eurocopter acting as main contractor, the Design Office is charged with harmonizing the tasks of both partners, defining and freezing the interfaces between the subsystems, and performing the preliminary design studies.
CATIA V5, the latest-generation Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tool is the software being used by the two partners to create a virtual mock-up, which will limit the interface-related risks, and simplify the exchanges with the equipment manufacturers involved in the manufacture of the first prototype. Furthermore, a multi-skilled Eurocopter-China team in Marignane uniting suppliers and partners will be set up as part of the preliminary studies. Their aim will be to reduce the recurrent costs linked to high value systems such as the landing gear, the electrical power system, the engine, and the accessory module of the main gearbox (MGB).
“The initial work with our Chinese partners is promising,” states Richard Dubreuil, of the EC175 program. “We are reaping the harvest of three decades of successful collaboration with China. Following the Dauphin (in the 1980s) and the EC120 B Colibri (in the 1990s), for the first time we are conducting an equally shared co-development program with China for the EC175.
The mutual trust that already exists between the teams, the shared knowledge of working methods, and a long combined history are advantages, which will lead to the successful completion of this program.”