News & Events-Proposals for streamlined certification of military helicopters show potential for time and cost savings

Frazer-Nash has completed a research contract with the European Defence Agency (EDA) to develop proposals for an optimised certification and qualification process for dual use (civil/military) helicopters, which could result in significant time and cost savings.

At present, aircraft can be subject to lengthy military 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 by another European Union member state.

In the latter case, it is typical for the military certification conducted by one nation to not be fully recognised by another and this can result in the need for significant re-testing to generate sufficient evidence to achieve military type 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 was to assess the existing civil and military certification and qualification processes that are used by European Union member states - to identify where there were gaps and duplication, as well as capture best practice from current multinational military aircraft programmes and existing EDA activities to achieve military regulatory harmonisation.

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

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

This project was run alongside a separate activity led by the EDA to establish a set of harmonised, pan-European Military Airworthiness Requirements (EMARs) for fixed-wing aircraft, based on the equivalent civil regulations by the European Aviation Safety Agency. These EMARs are currently being implemented into the national military regulations of individual member states.

Frazer-Nash drew on its 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.