Thursday, February 04, 2010

SINGAPORE 2010: Uncertainty over AVIC's Z-15

SOURCE:Flight International
SINGAPORE 2010: Uncertainty over AVIC's Z-15

Eurocopter's EC-175 helicopter that it is developing and producing in China with AVIC had its first flight in December but progress on development of the Chinese version, Z-15, is unclear.

"We started the EC-175 in China five years ago and we have reached all the milestones," Eurocopter CEO and president Lutz Bertling says at the Singapore Airshow.

First flight of the EC-175 was on the 4 December "and we have not encountered any major problems", he adds.

But development of the Z-15 is less clear.

"The Chinese partners decided to go with a second engine, the Turbomeca,", says Bertling. The EC-175 is powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.

Bertling declines to say why the Chinese suddenly decided to go with France's Turbomeca rather than rely on P&W. "We can't say what impact this will have on the [Z-15] programme", he adds.

In 2007, Pratt and Whitney Canada came under the media spotlight when it was discovered that the firm's engines were being used on the Chinese Z-10 attack helicopter.

The Z-15 is a medium utility helicopter that can be used for civil and military purposes.

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