Eurocopter opens German testing facility
May 21, 2013 By aerospace-technology.com
May 21, 2013, Donauworth, Ger. - Eurocopter has officially opened its new Systemhaus helicopter development centre at its Donauwörth site in Germany.
The 30,000-square-metre development centre provides workspace for approximately 900 employees and offers complete system capability for Eurocopter's production activity at its German site, a key aspect of the company's global innovation strategy.
The Systemhaus building features testing and research facilities, which include simulators, avionics trainers, laboratories, test centres and a prototype shop.
It is also home to the system support centre (SUZ) for the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) helicopter fleet, including the NH90 and CH-53 transport helicopters, and the Tiger attack helicopter.
The facility allows Eurocopter to manage the entire life-cycle of its helicopters at one German location, covering all aspects including research, development, prototype construction and manufacturing and final assembly as well as training, maintenance and product improvement.
About 900 employees are being moved from the company's existing operation in Ottobrunn, Munich, which brings the total workforce at the Donauwörth site to around 6,500 employees.
Eurocopter CEO Guillaume Faury said that the Systemhaus inauguration is a decisive step forward in Eurocopter's industrial strategy.
"By gaining the full system capability to develop, manufacture and maintain helicopters in Donauwörth, we generate remarkable advantages in terms of product and technology cycles."
"It's a long-term investment with far-reaching impact that ultimately serves both our customers and enhances our competitiveness," Faury added.
EADS chief executive officer Tom Enders said that the Systemhaus is part of a series of major investments that EADS has pursued in Germany and particularly in Bavaria.
"Premium AEROTEC has officially opened a new engineering center in Augsburg, Astrium is building a new engine production facil-ity in Ottobrunn and a planned research campus also is taking shape in Ottobrunn," he said.
According to Eurocopter, bringing design and production physically closer makes it possible to achieve better networking between individual specialist areas at the Systemhaus.
The company has invested about €100 million in the Systemhaus development centre project, since the start of its construction in July 2011.
Eurocopter is building an on-site combined heat and power plant, which will meet almost half the company's future energy needs in Donauwörth.
The company plans to conduct its new X9 helicopter development programme primarily in Donauwörth.
A similar project to Systemhaus is being planned at the company's Marignane location in the south of France, where the company is seeking to build a new development centre as part of its strategy of sustainable innovation and technology.