November 7, 2009

Fennic.. The Winner?? Here we go again for another tender.

Indias 197 Helicopters for Army Aviation Corps and Indian Air Force.
India will soon sign a deal with Europe's aerospace and defence major EADS for purchase of 197 'Fennec' helicopters for use of Army, particularly in high altitude regions like Siachen.

An agreement for supply of the AS 550 Fennec helicopters for Indian Navy may follow as the latter has expressed interest in acquiring these, officials of the company said here.

"We are in final phase of having a deal to supply 197 (Fennec) light helicopters for the Indian Army. The contract is expected to be signed by the end of the year," EADS Senior Vice President for South Asia, Allain Letanoux, told a group of Indian journalists here. The deal will involve transfer of technology, he said.
Though Letanoux did not specify the monetary volume of the contract, the deal is believed to be worth 600 million dollars.

Under the understanding between the two sides, 67 helicopters manufactured in France will be purchased outright while the rest will be built jointly with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The Fennec helicopter holds a record in flying in mountainous regions and was the only of its kind to successfully land on top of Mount Everest recently, EADS officials say.

AS 550 Fennec - Single-Engined Light Military Helicopter

Key Data

Crew - 1 pilot
Passenger Capacity - 5 equipped troops
Rotor Diameter- -10.69m
Tail Rotor Diameter - 1.86m
Overall Length With Rotors Turning 12.94m
Fuselage Length - 12.94m
Width With Blades Folded - 2.53m

The Eurocopter AS 550 Fennec single-engine helicopter is operational with the Singapore armed forces, the Royal Australian Army, the Brazilian Army and Air Force, the Danish Army, the French Army and the United Arab Emirates Army.

The Fennec belongs to the Ecureuil / Fennec family of helicopters which includes: the single-engine military AS 550 Fennec and civil AS 350 Ecureuil; twin-engine naval AS 555 Fennec and civil AS 355 Ecureuil; and the civil EC 130 single-engine helicopter. Over 3,150 helicopters of the family have been ordered, of which 2,500 have been delivered and are operational in over 70 countries.

The army of Pakistan has ordered a number of AS 550 helicopters, to be delivered from the end of 2008.
The AS550 Fennec can be fitted for anti-tank, air-to-air combat, ground support and training missions and it is also used in the utility transportation role. The combat version is called the AS 550C3.

The helicopters are in production at Eurocopter's engineering and production facilities at Marignane in France, and they are also built under licensed production agreements in Brazil and in China.
The maximum speed is 287km/h and the service ceiling is 5,280m. With maximum fuel the helicopter achieves a range of 666km. A proposed order of 197 Fennec helicopters by India was cancelled in December 2007.
AS 550 Fennec design

The AS 550 is of light construction based on a reinforced high-strength glass fibre and aramid airframe. The Starflex main rotor head and blades are also of composite materials for added strength and weight reduction. The engine cowlings are armoured for protection.

The helicopter is fitted with armoured seats and can carry the pilot and up to five troops. The cabin can also be configured for medical evacuation with capacity for one stretcher patient and two doctors. For cargo carrying, the cabin can take a 3m³ load.
The combat version of theAS 550 Fennec is called the AS 550C3. The military AS 550 is fitted with sliding doors on each side rather than the hinged door fitted on the civil AS 350 variant. The 1m³ baggage compartment is installed behind the main cabin and is accessed via a door on the starboard side.
A cargo sling, rated at 1,160kg, and a 204kg hoist can be used.
AS 550 cockpit systems

The cockpit is equipped with single controls and is night-vision compatible. The navigation suite includes a global positioning system, a VHF Omnidirectional Radio Ranger and Instrument Landing System (VOR/ILS), an automatic direction finder, distance measuring equipment and a marker beacon transponder. The secure communications systems are fitted according to the customer country's specification. The pilot has a vehicle and engine multifunction display which allows shows the main vehicle and engine parameters on a dual LCD screen.

Fennec weapons systems

The helicopter is fitted with a wide range of weapon systems to suit the operational requirements of the country's forces. Weapon fits include anti-tank missiles, rockets or guns. The Danish Army AS 550C2 helicopters are armed with the Systems & Electronics (formerly ESCO) HeliTOW sighting system and TOW anti-tank missiles. The HeliTOW sight is roof-mounted and contains direct view optics, day and/or night sight and laser rangefinder.

The AS 550 can be fitted with two Forges de Zeebrugge rocket launchers which carry seven 2.75in rockets each, or two Thales Brandt 68mm launchers with 12 rockets each. The helicopter has been fitted with the Giat 20mm gun type M621, and the FN Hershal twin 7.62mm and 12.7mm machine gun pod.

The surveillance and observation systems include a forward-looking infrared, optical cameras and Spectrolab SX 16 searchlights. Thales Detexis EWR-99 radar warning receiver and Alkan ELIPS countermeasures dispenser can be fitted.


The single Turbomeca Arril 2B engine provides 632kW take-off power. The engine is fitted with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC). The main gearbox has a 45-minute dry run capability.
The self-sealing plastic fuel tank has a capacity of 540l. An auxiliary fuel tank can be installed in the cabin to provide an additional 475l of fuel for extended-range operations. Landing gear. The helicopter has steel tube skid-type landing gear. Emergency flotation gear is fitted for operation over water.
Sidharth K Menon
Defence and Intelligence Analyst.