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Swiss Air Force

Eurocopter EC635

EC635 (Enlargement in new window)Enlargement in new window

Manufacturer: EADS Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters since 1 January 2014)
Built: from 2007 to 2009
Use: light transport and training helicopter
Crew: 1 or 2 pilots (depending on mission)
Transport capacity EC635:

      • 6 passengers max., 4 passengers standard
      • Stretchers can be carried

Transport capacity EC635VIP: 4 (VIP) passengers max.
Commenced service: 2008
Number of helicopters: 20 (18 EC635 and 2 EC635VIP)
Number of helicopters still in service: 20 (as per November 2014)

Registration: T-351 to T-370 (T-351 and T-352 in the VIP version EC635VIP)


The new helicopters procured with the armament programme Rüstungsprogramm 2005 by armasuisse External website. Content opens in new window , the procurement and technology centre of the DDPS, received the temporary project name 'LTSH / light transport and training helicopter EC635/135'. The fielded fleet will be named EC635 and include the EC635 and the EC635VIP versions. The type name will only be stated, however, when the models explicitly need to be distinguished, for example when hard points are mentioned (only the EC635 version has hard points, the EC635VIP does not).

These helicopters will continue to ensure air transport capacity and missions the 32 Sud-Aviation SE-3160  Alouette III were tasked with so far. Compared to the Alouette III, the new EC635 will perform more flight hours annually and provide higher transport capacity. Modern light helicopters require less maintenance and lower holding time for preparation and operation. This allows for a smaller fleet size (number of helicopters) while the performance remains the same. To a large extent, the limitation of Alouette III operations to VFR flights, will not apply to the EC635 as it is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment. In addition it is powered by two engines and therefore provides higher flight safety.

Two of the procured helicopters will be equipped as VIP helicopters and operated by the Federal Air Transport Service (FATS) Lufttransportdienstes des Bundes (LTDB) External website. Content opens in new window from Belp. These helicopters bearing the registrations T-351 and T-352 are equivalent to the civilian version EC135 supplied by Eurocopter. Equipped with leather seats, a sound insulated cabin and air conditioning, the Swiss Air Force will use these EC635VIP models to airlift federal councillors. The Dauphin – an exotic specimen in the air force’s helicopter fleet –used for this purpose until 2009, was thus replaced. The military helicopter EC635 mainly differs from its civilian counterpart by its reinforced aluminium carbon composite structure, which includes existing armament suspension points. These could be fitted with weapons but this is not intended at present. Various sensors could be attached to these hard points if necessary. On the outside, the two EC635VIP helicopters differ from the EC635 machines only by the lacking load hook and winch.

The following missions can be carried out with the EC635:


  • passenger transport;
  • transport of interior and exterior loads;
  • fire fighting;
  • surveillance and support flights on behalf of civilian authorities
  • search and rescue (SAR);


  • basic training (basic training, landing in the field/mountains, load transport), tactical flight procedures;
  • further training (multi crew, IFR flight, night flight etc.).

The basic and further training of military helicopter pilots is considered efficient and economic, when as many operational procedures of the larger Super Puma helicopters can be trained with similar equipment and comparable procedures on a more cost-efficient platform such as the EC635. The same goes for training and further education of pilots and the training and maintenance of special licenses. The EC635's avionics instruments and system control are partially corresponding to the Super Puma's which allows easier standardisation of procedures and standards. This has a positive effect on training quality and daily operations and a substantially positive influence on flight safety.

The first EC635 destined for the Swiss Air Force, bearing serial number 0529 and temporary registration D-HECM(8), successfully performed its maiden flight at Eurocopter's Donauwörth facility (Germany) on 23 May 2007.

On 7 March 2008, armasuisse approved and was handed over the first EC635 from the manufacturer in Donauwörth according to schedule. By the end of March 2008, another EC635 helicopter was delivered as scheduled. For initial training of pilots and ground personnel, both Eurocopters remain stationed in Donauwörth until summer 2008. Subsequently, the Swiss Air Force will be operating the helicopters.

Eurocopter will manufacture four helicopters (2 EC635VIP and 2 EC635) in Germany and deliver them by mid 2008. The remaining 16 EC635 will be assembled by RUAG Aerospace in Alpnach and handed over to the air force between the second half of 2008 and 2009.

Introduction of EC635 completed

On 28 May 2010, together with the manufacturer and armasuisse, the air force celebrated the completion of the introductory phase of the new helicopter at the Alpnach airbase External website. Content opens in new window (canton of Obwalden), the logistic helicopter base of the Swiss Armed Forces. Not only were all 20 procured EC635 arranged in file on the ground, they also gave an impressive joint show in the air. Thus, the entire fleet was commissioned for daily operations.


EC635 / Grafik © Armin K. Keller, 6340 Baar (Enlargement in new window)Enlargement in new window

Technical data

Flight performance:Max. airspeed (VNE): 140 kts IAS
 Max. cruise speed: 138 kts TAS (256 km/h)
 Hovering ceiling IGE (MTOM, ISA, TOP): 10000 ft PA (3050 m)
 Hovering ceiling OGE (MTOM, ISA, TOP): 6800 ft PA (2070 m)
 Max. range (60 kg reserve, MTOM, ISA, 124 kts): 298 NM (552 km)
 Max. endurance (60 kg reserve, MTOM, ISA, 65 kts): 3 hours
External dimensions:Total length (rotor turning): 12.19 m
 Height: 3.51 m
 Max. width: 2.65 m (horizonal stabiliser)
Cabin dimensions:Interior width: 1.50 m
 Height: 1.15 to 1.26 m
 Floor area: approx 3 m2
Mass (weight):Empty mass (without troop seats): 1900 kg
 Max. take-off mass (MTOM), applicable for interior and exterior loads): 2910 kg
Engines:Model: 2x Pratt & Whitney Canada PW 206B2
 Type: gas turbine
 Max. continuous power (MCP AEO): 2x 283 kW
 Take-off power (AEO): 2x 320 kW
Main rotor:Number of blades: 4
 Diameter: 10.20 m
For questions about this page: Public Information Swiss Air Force
Last updated: 14.01.2016
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