Japan Coast Guard To
Boost Its Helicopter Fleet After Tsunami
By Steve Hall
August 22, 2011 – Following intensive relief operations
after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March, the
Japan Coast Guard, Eurocopter Group and Eurocopter Japan
have signed a tripartite contract for the supply of
three additional EC225 helicopters to the Japan Coast
These aircraft will be the first civilian helicopters to
be equipped with the most advanced mission system, to be
deployed for search and rescue as well as law
Procurement of the EC225s was decided after the Japanese Coast Guard efficiently carried out rescue and relief efforts following the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the country on March 11, but unfortunately had aircraft submerged during the disaster that were rendered unserviceable.
acquisition will replenish the fleet with new aircraft that have
the technology and capability to carry out complex search and
rescue (SAR) as well as anti-piracy missions.
very proud to have our helicopters contributing to saving lives
every day in Japan,” said Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz
Bertling. “The Eurocopter Japan team, which provided
round-the-clock support to their customers after the Tohoku
tragedy, remains totally committed to ensure that the helicopter
missions can be performed in the best and safest conditions."
Coast Guard initially purchased two EC225s in 2006 through an
open tender, complementing their AS332 L1 fleet for long range
all-weather SAR missions as well as for ship-borne operations.
“The decision by the Japan Coast Guard to acquire additional EC225s this year was taken in view of its new assignment for anti-piracy missions, while also taking into account the outstanding performance of their existing EC225 helicopters – which have been used intensively since delivery, as demonstrated during the disaster relief operations,” explained Stéphane Ginoux, President and CEO of Eurocopter Japan. “Together, the service’s EC225 and AS332 L1 fleet will be able to continue serving the country and saving lives under severe circumstances.”
earthquake struck in March and triggered destructive tsunami waves,
Eurocopter Japan immediately set up round-the-clock maintenance shifts
to support helicopter operations, ensuring maximum availability of the
helicopters to perform their missions. More than half of the helicopters
used by fire-fighters, police and coast guards during the disaster
relief operations were of Eurocopter origin.
twin-engine EC225 is in the 10-11-ton weight category, and features
high-performance navigation and mission systems – including a unique
digital autopilot; while also offering excellent flight autonomy and a
large cabin with seating for 25 persons.
As a result, the EC225 and its EC725 military version have become the reference for civil and military search and rescue, off-shore and passenger transport missions not just in Japan, but around the world. To date, a total of 240 EC225s and EC725s have been ordered, of which approximately half have been delivered. The annual production rate will be increased by 60 percent over the next two-year period to meet market demand.
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