Procurement: The Flexible EC135


April 30, 2010:  Spain has bought nine EC135 helicopters for its army. Manufactured by European firm EADS, the EC135 is a three ton, twin engine helicopter that appeared on the market 15 years ago. It has been popular with civilian customers, although some military purchases have been made as well. It can carry one pilot and up to seven passengers. Or two crew and two patients on stretchers. Earlier this year, Spain bought twelve EC135s for police work.

There is a militarized version, the EC635. This is a 2.9 ton helicopter that can carry 1.4 tons (one pilot and up to seven passengers.) Cruising speed is 261 kilometers an hour, and max air time per sortie is about 4.5 hours. The twin engine EC635 has two side pylons that can carry about 136 kg (300 pounds) of weapons each. Thus the EC635 can carry four Hellfire missiles, or six HOT ATGM, or two 20mm autocannon (with 180 rounds each). A 7.62mm machine-gun can also be mounted in the side door. The EC635 costs about $21 million each, the EC135 about $18 million. Over 600 of all models have been sold.