KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Eurocopter Malaysia's full-flight simulator will start operations early next year, making it the company's 20th in the world.
The simulator recently completed certification tests by the European Aviation Safety Agency and Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation, a report by Malaysia's news agency Bernama said.
The system is being assembled at Eurocopter Malaysia's new Simulation Center at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Selangor, near Kuala Lumpur and where Eurocopter Malaysia is based.
Eurocopter's full flight simulator training is designed to enhance helicopter safety by improving and maintaining the skills of pilots and crew while reducing customers' training costs, Eurocopter said.
"The simulator in Malaysia will be Eurocopter's 20th in the world and reflects the company's strong commitment to develop its support and services in Asia," Eurocopter Malaysia's Managing Director Pierre Rossignol said.
Eurocopter will offer the simulator mainly to Malaysian air force pilots but also to train civilian pilots in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.
The simulator is part of the package of 12 EC725 Super Cougar helicopters ordered by Malaysia's air force in 2010.
Four Malaysian pilots started training for the EC725 in an EC225 simulator in Aberdeen, Scotland, a report by FlightGlobal aviation news said in July. The pilots are getting ground courses and more simulator and in-flight training in France.
The Cougars will replace Sikorsky S-61A-4 Nuri helicopters used by Malaysia in search-and-rescue operations.
Malaysia's EC725 variant of the AS532 Cougar is a long-range tactical transport helicopter for troop transport, combat search and rescue, maritime surveillance, humanitarian support, medical evacuation and ship-borne missions.
The first helicopter is expected in Malaysia by the end of the year with all deliveries completed by January 2014 under the $500 million deal that nearly was scrapped by the government.
The decision to purchase a new fleet was taken after a fatal 2007 crash in which six Malaysian military personnel were killed.
A tender led to a deal with the French Eurocopter company for the EC 725, chosen ahead of the AgustaWestland AW101, Boeing CH-47, Kazan Mi-172, Mil Mi-17 and Sikorsky S-92.
But in 2008 the sale of the 12 Cougar's was shelved as part of cost-cutting measures imposed by the government in response to the global financial crisis.
However, Malaysia revived the contract in 2010.
Eurocopter was created in 1992 with the merger of the helicopter divisions of Aerospatiale-Matra in France and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace in Germany. The group is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Com.