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Project to look at streamlined certification of military helicopters could bring time, cost benefits

Engineering and technology company Frazer-Nash has won a contract with the European Defence Agency (EDA) to develop an optimised certification and qualification process for dual use (civil/military) helicopters, following a competitive tender.

At present, aircraft can be subject to lengthy certification and qualification processes when they are used either for a role not originally developed for (for instance, when a civilian helicopter is adapted for military purposes), or when they are transferred for use across different European Union member states. In the latter case, it is typical for the certification conducted by one nation to be unrecognised by another – with often significant re-testing required to generate evidence to support certification by the receiving nation.

Significant time and cost savings could be made if certification and qualification processes are optimised, regardless of the future use of the platform – and this is particularly the case for new helicopters that are designed with both civil and military uses in mind.

The first stage of Frazer-Nash's work will be to assess the existing certification and qualification processes that are used by European Union member states – to identify where there are gaps and duplication, as well as capture best practice from current multinational programmes.

The company will make recommendations for an optimised process for use on future helicopters, which will then be subject to review by the EDA, individual European member states and representatives from the aviation industry.

A session with stakeholders will take place to quantify the benefits of the optimised solution, with the aim of identifying outline processes that can then subject to greater scrutiny by the EDA and Member States.

Tim Andrews, Business Manager at Frazer-Nash commented: "We are pleased to be working on this ambitious but important project that has the potential to radically change the way certification and qualification of helicopters takes place across the European Union.

"We will be providing support to the EDA to understand the various civil and military certification processes developed by each member state, taking the best from each, and putting together a streamlined process. In the future, this could make it easier and quicker for helicopters to enter service and be used across different countries.

"Our experience covers many relevant areas – from providing safety management support to Merlin and Puma platforms, supporting the procurement of the future UK Search and Rescue Helicopter Service, to producing a harmonised set of European Military Airworthiness Certification Criteria for the EDA."

This project is running alongside separate activity being led by the EDA to create of a set of harmonised, pan-European Military Airworthiness Requirements, based on the equivalent civil regulations. These are currently being implemented into the national regulations of individual member states.

Frazer-Nash will be drawing on a highly experienced team that comprises ex-industry design authorities and former delegated airworthiness authorities, as well as consultants with expertise in delivering safety and airworthiness engineering solutions for a wide range of helicopters.

Press release issued by Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd on January 11, 2013

 

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