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April 2008 edition

Factory series: The character forming multi-country history that makes Eurocopter what it is today

Eurocopter has always had to reconcile its international resources with the need to try and match the efficiency of rival manufacturers with a more streamlined geographical base. The French, German and Spanish manufacturing operations are now firmly linked together, and there are increasing roles for other countries including the U.K., but their initial separate development has had considerable influence on each country's role today.

The partners: Historical starting points are always a matter for dispute and debate. But the modern French operations of Eurocopter might be said to have grown out of the first aeronautical facility in La Courneuve which dates back to 1917. The activities of the Eurocopter sites in Germany began pre-1914 and, in many ways, the Spanish connection can be traced back to 1939. Eurocopter's international input has broadened ever since. "We have had around 90 years to learn how to maximise our breadth of input and, at the same time, improve our cost efficiency and output," Dr Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter ceo, says.

France: SudAviation was created by the merger of Sud Ouest and Sud Est Aviation in January 1957. The following years saw rapid development including, in 1968, composite blade production emerging as a La Courneuve strength. When the French State Industrial Aerospace company (SNAS) was created in January 1970 through the merger of....

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