February 9, 2010:
Taiwan is buying twenty EC 225 helicopters, for about $37 million each, from Germany. This is a civilian version of the Super Puma, and is primarily used for search and rescue. The 11.2 ton, twin engine, EC 225 can carry up to 25 passengers. Top speed is 200 kilometers an hour and endurance is 3-4 hours. Only three helicopters are being purchased at first, to see what the Chinese reaction is. China has been increasingly hostile to countries that sell military equipment to Taiwan. The EC 225 is a civilian helicopter, but can easily be converted, by Taiwanese firms, to military use. If the Chinese come down too hard on Germany (a major exporter to China), Taiwan may not get the other 17 EC 225s.