Maintenance deal will provide another twelve years of operation for Brazilian Army Cougar AS532UE helicopters
Helibras Brazil announced on December 22, 2016, that it had signed a new contract with the Brazilian Army to perform “G-check” inspection work on two of Brazil’s fleet of Airbus Helicopters Cougar AS532UE aircraft used for national defense duties.
G-check inspections are a general inspection that operators must complete every twelve years of operation or 7,500 hours of flight on Airbus Helicopters aircraft. Following the execution of the G-check, which takes almost a year to complete on the highly sophisticated AS532UE and requires the helicopter to be stripped down to the frame essentially and rebuilt like a new helicopter. Every part and component is then tested, checked, and replaced if necessary.
The aircraft then leaves the company maintenance facility with a new lease on life, guaranteeing an extension in the lifespan of the helicopter for at least another twelve years of operation in its chosen mission. This process is now becoming a much more viable and cost effective solution to many operators including government entities, which can perform a G-check on a helicopter and return it to almost an “as new” condition for a significantly lower price point than investing in new helicopters. Purchasing new helicopters also add cost when factoring in the retraining expense associated with any brand new helicopter type brought into an organization. At times, slowing down the availability of new aircraft operationally as staff gradually retrain on the newer aircraft. Retraining is not required when a G-check is performed on an existing aircraft, resulting in additional cost savings by only having to ensure that recurrent training on the current model used occurs.
Of the eight helicopters in the present fleet of the AS532UE operated by the Brazilian Army, two of the helicopters have already undergone a twelve-year G-check maintenance inspection at Helibras workshops in Itajubá (MG.) A third AS532UE helicopter is currently in the final phase of its G-Check and scheduled for delivery in coming weeks.
Walter Filho, responsible for Military Market sales and service for Helibras said about today’s announcement, “these major inspections are a critical step for Army Aviation to increase the life of the helicopters, also for Helibras, as they guarantee a significant workload for the workshops and other operational areas of the company.”
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