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EC635

The Eurocopter EC635 is a light multi-purpose helicopter developed by Eurocopter as a military version of the Eurocopter EC 135.  It is a twin-engined aircraft and can carry up to 8 people, including the pilot, and a range of military equipment or armaments.  The helicopter is marketed for troop transport, medical evacuation, cargo transport and armed combat support missions. 

 

Development

The Eurocopter EC635 was developed to meet a Portuguese Army requirement for a fire support and medical evacuation helicopter to support its plans for a specialist Army Air Corps unit – UALE .  The EC635 was first revealed at the Aviation Africa exhibition in May 1998 and the Portuguese Ministry of Defence subsequently signed an agreement for nine EC635 T2 helicopters equipped with Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 engines, at a cost of €35 million in October 1999. Delivery of the first Portuguese aircraft was expected to begin in 2001; however, continual delays in production led to the Portuguese Ministry of Defence canceling the contract in August 2002, citing Eurocopter's failure to deliver all aircraft between August 2001 and April 2002 as the reason.  Eurocopter claimed that disagreements over the integration of weapons systems on the helicopter were the reason for the cancellation.

The Royal Jordanian Air Force agreed to purchase the 9 Portuguese helicopters in October 2002 and the first aircraft was delivered in July 2003. Jordan ordered a further 4 helicopters in January 2006 and deliveries of all machines were completed in 2007.

In April 2006, the Swiss Defence Procurement Agency (Armasuisse) ordered 18 EC635's for the Swiss Air Force, to replace the aging Aérospatiale Alouette III in performing transport and advanced training missions.  The first two aircraft will be built by Eurocopter, with the remaining 16 being built by RUAG Aerospace in Alpnach, Switzerland, and deliveries expected to be completed between March 2008 and December 2009.

 

Design

The EC635 is based on the Eurocopter EC 135, improving upon the design for military operations and able to carry weapons systems.  The helicopter is fitted with a choice of powerplants, depending on customer requirements, and can be powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206B2 (EC635 P2+), or two Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 (EC635 T2+).  The powerplant is mounted over the baggage compartment and features a Full Authority Digital Engine Control system.  The engines power a fibre-reinforced composite Bearingless Main Rotor (BMR) with four blades, and the familiar Fenestron enclosed tail rotor, both of which reduce vibration and noise levels.  Vibration levels are further reduced by a built-in Anti Resonance Isolation System (ARIS).  The EC635 can be fitted with either a conventional cockpit consisting of a traditional dashboard, or a glass cockpit , which utilizes a Thales 'Avionique Nouvelle' suite with MEGHAS Flight Control Display System and active matrix liquid crystal displays .

There are four configurations designed by Eurocopter for the EC635.  The Troop Transport version can be fitted with utility seats to carry up to 7 troops with a pilot, or passenger seats to carry up to 6 people and a pilot.  The Medical Evacuation version can carry 1 or 2 litters with up to 5 seated medical workers.  The Cargo Transport version has 4.9 m³ (173.04 ft³) of space for cargo, while the Armed Mission version is equipped with specialist equipment and weapons for combat.  The helicopter can also be fitted with a FLIR camera turret, an infra-red capable search light, SAR weather radar and electronic equipment for Observation Missions.

 

General characteristics

Crew: 1 pilot

Capacity: up to 8 troops

Length: 10.21 m (33.5 ft)

Rotor diameter: 10.20 m (33.5 ft)

Height: 3.62 m (11.9 ft)

Disc area: 81.7 m² (880 ft²)

Empty weight : 1,467 kg (3,234 lb)

Useful load: 1,443 kg (3,181 lb)

Max. takeoff weight : 2,900 kg (6,400 lb)

Powerplant : 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206B2 turboshafts , 609 kW (816 hp) each

 

Performance

Never exceed speed : 278 km/h, 173 mph (150 kts)

Maximum speed : 260km (140 kts)

Cruise speed : 261 km/h, 162 mph (141 kts)

Range : 650 km, 404 mi (351 nm)

Service ceiling : 6,095 m (20,000 ft)

Rate of climb : 10.9 m/s (2,150 ft/min)