Wednesday, July 11, 2012

EC225 Super Puma helicopters enter service

A Super Puma performs at Songshan AFB
The search-and-rescue helos are the first-ever European-built choppers to enter service in the Taiwanese Air Force 

Three European-built EC225 Super Puma helicopters were officially commissioned into the air force at a ceremony yesterday, providing a welcome boost to the nation’s search-and-rescue (SAR) capabilities. 

During the ceremony, held at Songshan Air Force Base in Taipei, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) told a large gathering of military personnel and foreign dignitaries that the armed forces’ disaster response work in recent years had earned them the trust of the public. 

1x EC225, 3x S-70C at Songshan AFB
The EC225, built by the France-based Eurocopter, an EADS subsidiary, has a maximum takeoff weight of about 11 tonnes and can accommodate two pilots, four crew and as many as 20 passengers or three stretchers, according to the builder’s Web site. The twin-engine, five-rotor-blade helicopter has a maximum endurance of five hours and 38 minutes, a maximum speed of 324kph and a maximum range of 838km. 

The Super Pumas are the first European-built helicopters to serve in the Air Force’s rescue squadron, joining the Sikorsky S-70Cs, the nation’s main workhorse for search and rescue operations, which were acquired in the 1980s and 1990s. The total price tag for the three helicopters was NT$3.6 billon (US$120 million). 

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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