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Ecuador takes delivery of 2 Fennec helicopters

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The Fennec AS550 C3 chopper. An Eurocopter photo

MARIGNANE, FRANCE (BNS): The Ecuadorian Defence Ministry has taken delivery of the first two AS550 C3 Fennec helicopters from Eurocopter last month.

The choppers were delivered under a 2010 contract to supply seven AS550 C3s and two AS350 B2s, which were delivered in December 2011.

The AS550 C3 Fennecs were handed over to Ecuador during a ceremony held at Eurocopter's Marignane facility on September 25. The event was attended by Ecuadorian Defence Minister Miguel Carvajal, the Chief of the Armed Forces Joint Command General Leonardo Barreiro and other officials, Eurocopter said.

"The delivery of these two new helicopters represents a further step forward under the Ecuadorian Army's ambitious modernisation programme. Our Army aviation will have a new generation of helicopters with higher performance levels and lower maintenance costs," Defence Minister Miguel Carvajal said.

The new AS550 C3 Fennecs will perform a wide range of missions including rescue, reconnaissance, drug enforcement and border patrol from the country's military base at Porto Viejo.

The recent visit by the Ecuadorian delegation also provided an opportunity to continue discussions on an order for a second batch of aircraft, which would come in addition to the nine helicopters ordered in 2010, Eurocopter said.

The new orders are part of the MOD's plans to progressively replace their Gazelle and Lama fleet of choppers, some of which have been in service for several decades.

The Ecuadorian Armed Forces currently operate over 20 Eurocopter helicopters, including two Ecureuil AS350 Bs, two Ecureuil AS350 B2s, three SA315 B Lamas, two SA316 B Alouettes, seven SA342 Gazelles and five AS332 Super Pumas.


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