Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR November 2010 Contents 54 | Asia Pacific Defence Reporter
Q: With Australia purchasing both the Tiger
and the MRH, how would you describe your
relationship with the customer and is there
anything you would have done differently?
A: I would say that there is one point which
stands out and that relates to activities at the
start of the programmes. The Commonwealth
has very specific processes and perhaps we
should have spent a bit more time at the very
beginning making sure there was greater
alignment on our part. If we had done this
we might have avoided some subsequent
discussions where we were using the same
words – but with different meanings. But other
than that not too much else springs to mind.
Q: Is it the case that Germany is preparing to
deploy Tigers to Afghanistan?
A: This is of course a decision for the German
Government, not for us. I can only say that the
German forces are preparing themselves to be
ready for such an occurrence. As far as I know,
no official decision has yet been taken.
As you would be aware, France has deployed
Tigers for some time and we are pleased with
how that is going. The mission availability is
greater than 90% and we believe the overall
performance of the helicopters has been very
good. They are firing hundreds of 30mm rounds
every week along with tens of missiles.
Overall this first deployment could hardly
have been better.
Q: Do you have Eurocopter people
supporting the Afghanistan deployment?
A: There have been some rumours of the
“massive” scale of support. This is actually just
two or three of our people. The French Army is
doing most of the work with our guys providing
some technical expertise and sometimes
providing an interface with the company back
Q: Looking at the global economic picture,
how is Eurocopter faring?
A: The helicopter industry traditionally lags
between 18 and 24 months behind business
cycles. This is because of the fact that we have
relatively high down payments, so we do not
see an immediate effect from deteriorating
conditions because people do not want to
cancel orders and lose the investment that has
already been made. That means that the years
2009 and 2010 have been alright in terms of
turnover and so on, but overall there has been
a decline in order intake. Even so, 2009 was
not a bad year because we continued to receive
quite large Government orders, which have
compensated for the drop-off in commercial
business. By Government, I mean not only
military, but police, coast guard and other such
However, that situation is now changing
with pressure on national budgets all around
the globe with far fewer competitions than
previously. Overall the situation is one where
we are trying to stabilize our turnover and
move out of the loss-making zone. We have
already taken a number of internal measures
to strengthen our position, and for example we
have increased the amount we are spending on
research and development.
Overall our market share is actually increasing
slightly, though on smaller volumes.
Q: What is the split between military
and commercial business? Do you see that
The boundaries in either direction appear
to be 45 / 55. In 2007 - 2008 for example the
split was 45% military and 55% civil. But now
because of the changed global circumstances
we expect the ratio to be 55% military for the
next two or three years. APDR
MRH being unloaded from a C-17
Tiger ARH with M1A1 tank
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