RUAG MRO Switzerland has recently modified two Swiss Air Force EC635 helicopters to transport COVID-19 patients, the company announced.
The time-sensitive project is jointly executed by RUAG, Swiss Federal defense procurement agency armasuisse and the Swiss Air Force. Two helicopters have already been modified and are ready for use by the Air Force.
Eurocopter EC635 (now Airbus Helicopters H135M) is the military version of the Eurocopter EC135 (now Airbus Helicopters H135). EC135 is the most frequently used helicopter for emergency services worldwide.
The Swiss Armed Forces primarily uses the EC635 helicopter model for utility and training missions. They are also used for individual and patient transport, and for this purpose are equipped with standard materials for medical care.
Due to the current situation brought about by coronavirus (COVID-19), the Swiss Air Force has commissioned RUAG MRO Switzerland to specifically modify the infrastructure of this helicopter type for the transport of COVID-19 patients. On one hand, spatial separation of the cockpit from the cabin is necessary in order to protect pilots from the disease to the greatest extent possible, ensuring their operational capability for further flights. On the other hand, a suitable method for disinfecting the entire helicopter is needed. The various medical devices required by COVID-19 patients were inspected for any possible interference-generating signals and taken into consideration.
In just a few days, two helicopters have already been repurposed, and are ready for use by the Air Force. RUAG MRO Switzerland has also ensured that the necessary production mechanisms are in place for the short-term modification of further Swiss Air Force EC635 helicopters.
“We are moving closer together, and not due to the on-going decoupling process alone. These extraordinary situations in particular demonstrate mutual trust and outstanding collaboration. In this way, it is possible for us to elaborate effective solutions together in order to aid those who are dependent upon our help”, says Andreas Baumann, General Manager of Helicopters, RUAG MRO Switzerland.