MARIGNANE, France, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The Japanese coast guard, Eurocopter Group and Eurocopter Japan have signed a tripartite contract for three EC225 helicopters.
The aircraft will be the first civilian helicopters to be equipped with the most advanced mission system and will be used for search-and-rescue as well as law enforcement missions.
The Japanese coast guard decided to procure additional EC225 aircraft after the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in March destroyed part of its helicopter fleet.
"We are very proud to have our helicopters contributing to saving lives every day in Japan," said Eurocopter President and Chief Executive Officer Lutz Bertling. "The Eurocopter Japan team, which provided round-the-clock support to their customers after the Tohoku tragedy, remains totally committed to ensure that the helicopter missions can be performed in the best and safest conditions."
The Japan coast guard initially purchased two EC225s in 2006 through an open tender, complementing its AS332 L1 fleet for long-range, all-weather SAR missions as well as for ship-borne operations.
Eurocopter's twin-engine EC225 is in the 10- to 11-ton weight category and features high-performance navigation and mission systems, including a unique digital autopilot.