Helibras opened the doors of its plant on Tuesday, October 25, for the in-flight presentation of the first armed H225M helicopter for Navy of Brazil. This is the most complex helicopter developed and produced by the company's Engineering Center as part of the H-XBR program.
The BRA-05 prototype is fitted with the Tactical Naval Mission System developed by Helibras especially for the Navy’s missions, as well as with an APS-143 surveillance radar, a self-protection suite countermeasures including sensors and chaff & flare launchers, and two latest-generation Exocet AM39 B2M2 missiles.
The first flight of the aircraft was observed by the President of Helibras Richard Marelli, the Commander of the Navy, Admiral Bacellar Eduardo Leal Ferreira, guests from the Navy, the Air Force and the Army as well as partner companies, who were able to observe the project’s progress.
"It is an honor and a great pleasure to present this new version, because I headed the H225M project in Brazil, before being appointed president of Helibras. I am confident and proud of the work our team is doing here, in close collaboration with the Armed Forces and our partners who have helped us build this naval version, which is unique in the world," said Marelli.
Development and manufacture of this new naval version were conducted under the leadership of Helibras in collaboration with ATECH and ADS, which are responsible for the Tactical Naval Mission System that is the heart of the missile’s integration with the aircraft and sensors; and Avibras and Mectron, which produce the rocket motors of the Exocet AM39 B2M2 missile, which is manufactured by MBDA.
The Tactical Naval Mission System installed in the Brazilian H225M allows the mission commander, in the cockpit, to establish and evaluate a complex tactical-operational situation, in coordination with an operator sitting at the tactical console in the cabin, and to authorize the firing of the AM39 missile in the best conditions.
Aircraft BRA-05 will be the first H225M operational version to be delivered to the Navy in 2018. Before that, next year the new systems of this version will go through the evaluation and certification by the military authority, the Department of Science and Technology aerospace (DCTA-IFI).
The helicopter is part of the 50-aircraft H-XBR contract signed by the Ministry of Defense and that are now being produced in Brazil thanks to a transfer of technology and know-how under the Cooperation & Offset project managed by Helibras.
To date, Helibras has delivered 26 aircraft of this contract, and they have already accrued over 14,000 flight hours. Seven of them are in operation with the Brazilian Navy, ten with the air force, and nine with the Brazilian army.
Helibras is the only Brazilian producer of helicopters and in 2016 completed 38 years of activities. Since its founding in 1978, the company has delivered more than 750 helicopters in Brazil, 70% of the Squirrel model, manufactured in Itajubá (MG). In 2012, it began producing H225M (military) model, having built a new assembly line and extended all their facilities for this new program.
Helibras is the subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters, which belongs to the Airbus Group, a global pioneer in aerospace and defense-related services. With a 50% share of the Brazilian fleet of turbine helicopters, Helibras is the market leader and maintains facilities in Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. Its factory, which employs about 600 professionals and has 36 aircraft production capacity per year, produces and customizes various models that meet the civil, governmental and military segments. In 2015, the company reported total revenues of 620 million Brazilian reals (€181 million).