13 Jun 16. Airbus finalises deal to build helicopter plant in China. Airbus Helicopters, the world’s largest supplier of commercial helicopters, finalised an agreement on Monday to build an assembly line in China as part of a deal to sell 100 H135 helicopters to a local consortium. The helicopter sale is worth€ 700m ($788m) at catalogue prices, but the value of the deal rises to 1bn euros when support and initial industrial investment are included, an Airbus Helicopters spokesman said. The factory will be located in the Sino-German Ecopark in the coastal city of Qingdao, and is expected to start operations in 2018 with a capacity of 36 units a year, the company said.
The deal, first outlined last October, was signed during a visit to China by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
China is opening up its low-level airspace to civilian aircraft, and the global aviation industry is laying the groundwork for a boom beyond private business jets with the purchase of helicopters that is likely to include fleets of air ambulances. The light twin-engined H135 is already used in China for medical services and police surveillance.
Airbus Helicopters sees demand for 3,000-5,000 helicopters in China over the next 20 years.
“With the further opening up of the Chinese skies and the increasing growth in the civil and parapublic segments, China is gearing up to be the biggest market for helicopters in years to come,” Norbert Ducrot, head of Airbus Helicopters China and North Asia region, said in a statement. The 100 helicopters are expected to be assembled in China over the next 10 years, the company said. The Chinese purchasing consortium comprises China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS), Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development Company (Qingdao United) and CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co Ltd. Industry analysts said Merkel’s visit was not expected to lead to major new deals for Airbus jets. Airbus got a boost in May by finalising an order for 60 A320neo-family aircraft with China’s Spring Airlines, according to airline industry sources, but the name of the carrier has not yet been officially disclosed. Airbus declined comment. (Source: Reuters)
14 Jun 16. French Navy deploys second FREMM frigate Provence into active duty. The French Navy has deployed its second frégate Européen multi-mission (FREMM) frigate, Provence, into active duty. Established in 2002, the FREMM programme is a joint cooperation agreement between France and Italy. Under the programme, a total of 21 FREMM frigates will be built, of which ten are for the Italian Navy and 11 for the French Navy.
Last year, Provence joined the US Navy aircraft carrier Harry S Truman carrier strike group (CSG) as part of Task Force 58 near the Strait of Hormuz. The frigate also joined the French CSG, along with aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which was deployed in the Persian Gulf to support the fight against ISIS. The 142m-long and 20m-wide FREMM frigates have a displacement capacity of 6,000t and can accommodate 145 men and women. The vessels can cruise at a maximum speed of 27k, and have a range of 6,000nm at 15k speed. The FREMMs are heavily armed, with weapon systems and equipment such as the Herakles multifunction radar, Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles, Aster anti-aircraft missiles, or the MU90 anti-submarine torpedoes. Additionally, these vessels have the capacity to accommodate a Caiman marine helicopter, as well as Special Forces and their equipment. (Source: naval-technology.com)
14 Jun 16. Construction begins on Canadian Navy’s first Harry DeWolf-class AOPS. The beginning of construction on the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) first Harry DeWolf-class of arctic offshore patrol vessels (AOPS) was officially marked with a keel-laying ceremony at Irving Shipyard in Halifax. Following tradition, a coin was placed on the keel of the future HMCS Harry DeWolf vessel during the ceremony. In January 2015, the Canadian Government awarded a