EC120 B Multimission Helicopter, France
The EC120 B is a multimission single-engine helicopter manufactured by Eurocopter, an EADS company. The helicopter meets the requirements of Law Enforcement agencies and training needs of military users through its cost-efficient operation. The EC120 B is also referred to as Colibri (which means Hummingbird).
The EC120 was jointly developed by Eurocopter, China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) and Singapore Technologies Aerospace. The helicopter made its first flight in December 1997. The Chinese-built EC120 B version, HC-120, is produced by Harbin Aircraft Industry Group.
The high endurance and quiet operation make the EC120 B an ideal platform for police missions. The helicopter has been nicknamed as "eye in the sky" by some police forces due to its superior aerial support for missions on the ground.
The EC120 B is operated by many law enforcement agencies across the world, including US Customs and Border Protection, Baltimore Police Department, Brazilian Federal Highway Police, Bundespolizei, Edmonton Police Service, Calgary Police Service, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Spanish National Police and York Regional Police.
The helicopter is also in service with People's Liberation Army Air Force, French EAALAT army aviation school, Indonesian Air Force, Indonesian National Armed Forces, Republic of Singapore Air Force and Spanish Air Force.
A total of 660 EC120 B helicopters in operation worldwide have accumulated nearly one million flight hours.
Features of the multimission single-engine helicopter
The composite airframe of the EC120 B integrates Spheriflex-type rotor head, fenestron tail rotor and tubular skid landing gear. It is the first single-engine rotorcraft to fulfil the requisites of the new JAR 27 safety rules.
The low empty weight and powerful engine allow the helicopter to carry a range of police equipment, including forward looking infrared (FLIR) cameras, search light, hailers and other systems.
The maximum take-off weight of the EC120 B is 1,715kg. The helicopter can carry a useful load of 721kg in standard configuration. It has the capacity to transport one / two crew and up to three / four passengers.
EC120 B cockpit and avionics
The cockpit accommodates two crew members on high-back energy absorbing seats. The ergonomically designed cockpit is equipped with an LCD dual screen Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD).
The major cockpit instrumentation includes an airspeed indicator, altimeter, vertical speed indicator, warning panel, magnetic compass and external side slip indicator.
The avionics suite integrates a gyro-horizon, horizontal Situation Indicator, VHF/AM, VHF/VOR/LOC/GS/GPS, transponder, altitude encoder, Emergency Locator Transmitter and ICS plus passenger inter-phone.
Cabin features of Eurocopter's Colibri
The spacious cabin makes EC120 B suitable for various civilian and para-public roles including utility transport, offshore transport, training, law enforcement, medical evacuation and corporate transport.
The cabin offers a wide unobstructed flat floor to accommodate both police forces and their equipment. It is integrated with a rapidly removable three place energy absorbing rear bench seat. A communication panel can also be installed between the cabin and the cargo compartment.
The low vibration level ensures a high degree of comfort, especially during long flights. The helicopter supports the integration of all types of police equipment and avionics for providing surveillance, crowd control, anti-terrorist support, drug enforcement and detection, border patrol and aerial support to ground operations.
EC120 B multimission helicopter engine and performance
The power plant of the EC120 B integrates a Turbomeca Arrius 2F turbine engine driving the rotor system through the main gearbox coupling shaft.
The engine delivers a maximum take-off power of 376kW (504shp) while offering very low fuel consumption.
The fuel system consists of two crash-worthy fuel tanks with a total fuel capacity of 416L.
The helicopter has a maximum speed of 278km/h. It can reach a maximum altitude of 6,096m, with a rate of climb of 5.84m/sec.
The EC120 B can fly to a maximum distance of 710km without reserve at recommended cruise speed. It can conduct operations in temperatures ranging between -40°C and +50°C.