press releaseThe EC665 Tiger HAP (combat support) helicopter received its operational certification from NATO for the Afghan theater of operations in August 2009, just seven months after the final operational standard qualification was issued by government agencies in December 2008.The fleet of three EC665 Tiger HAPs, operated by the French Army’s 5th Combat Helicopter Regiment, has now logged more than 1,000 flight hours in Afghanistan in less than a year.With an availability rate of 90% in extremely harsh operating conditions, the Tiger has once again demonstrated excellent performance and operability levels for both reconnaissance missions and combat support operations for joint tactical groups (GTIA), which have been unanimous in their praise.A key to this success has been the excellent cooperation between the French Army, the French Armament Procurement Agency (DGA), the OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armaments Co-operation) and Eurocopter, which has deployed a dedicated work structure since the beginning of the operations.In this framework, Eurocopter has been providing the French Army with nonstop support to meet the specific operational needs of the Afghan theater and guarantee the required availability levels. A team of Eurocopter technicians is on assignment in Afghanistan to assist the mechanics of the French Army Air Corps (ALAT). In addition, a customized logistics support service has been set up to respond at any time to any request and to quickly supply any necessary spare parts.—————————————————-Company Portrait:Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 18 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in more than 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.