Brazil’s “Project H-X BR” medium transport helicopter competition featured 3 established players: AgustaWestland’s EH101 has found success in Britain, Europe, and Japan, and was chosen as the base for the USA’s VH-71 Presidential helicopter before that program was canceled. Eurocopter’s EC725 Cougar is an updated version of the popular AS332/532 Super Puma, and has been ordered in limited quantities by the French and Mexican governments. An up-to-date version of Russia’s widely used Mi-17 was the 3rd contender; like the Super Puma, Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters are already in wide use within Latin America.
In truth, however, Eurocopter always had an edge. The Brazilian Army’s Aviacao do Exercito already uses the AS532/”HM-3″ Super Puma, basing them in the Amazon at Manaus. Its Navy also uses Super Puma variants: AS332s and AS532s both serve in the Navy as the UH-14, flying from Brazil’s NAe Sao Paulo aircraft carrier, and from the southeastern base of Sao Pedro da Aldeia in support of Brazil’s Marines. Now, Eurocopter’s offering will become Brazil’s medium-lift helicopter across all services… thanks to a new contract.