The EC145 was a joint development between Eurocopter and Kawasaki Heavy Industries with the aim of significantly increasing the cabin space and take-off weight of the BK 117 C1, and upgrading the BK117's avionics in line with the systems developed for the EC 135. Type-certificated as the BK 117 C2, the helicopter was selected by the French Defense and Civil Guard for air rescue missions in December 1997, and 32 were ordered at a cost of one billion French francs. The first BK 117 C2 completed its maiden flight at Donauwörth on 12 June 1999, and a second prototype aircraft was built at Kawasaki's plant in Gifu.
Eurocopter designated the new model as the EC145 with the third prototype in April 2000, and safety certification was awarded by the German Luftfahrt-Bundesamt and Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau in December 2000. The EC145 was shown at the Paris Air Show in 2001, and more civilian orders followed. Safety certification was awarded by the United States FAA in February 2002, and the helicopter was shown at the Heli-Expo event in Orlando, Florida in the same year.
The latest variant of the model is the EC-145T2 which was unveiled at Heli Expo 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The EC-145T2 features an advanced cockpit design, modern avioncs, 4-axis autopilot and a Fenestron tail rotor. The new model will be equipped with new Arriel 2E turboshaft engines digitally controlled by dual Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC).
Read more about this topic: Eurocopter EC145
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