Airbus Helicopters Launches H160 Medium Twin

Airbus unveils full-size mockup at Heli-Expo.

Airbus Helicopters answered many of the questions surrounding its X4 medium twin-engine helicopter development program today by officially unveiling a full-size mockup of the new H160 on the show floor at Heli-Expo in Orlando, Florida.

A successor to the Dauphin family, the H160 features newly developed Blue Edge main rotor blades that are quieter and more efficient, a canted Fenestron tail rotor and an in-house avionics system that Airbus calls Helionix.

The mockup on the Heli-Expo floor is a sleek, modern design that has been drawing big crowds since it was unveiled this morning.

First flight is planned for later this year with customer deliveries targeted to start in 2018. Price was not disclosed at the unveiling, and the order book won’t officially open until next year.

Airbus Helicopters President and CEO Guillaume Faury said the H160 will be capable of hovering out of ground effect at 5,000 feet and will cruise at 160 knots and have a range of 450 nm.

Power will come from a pair of Turbomeca Arrano engines, a family in the 1,100 shp class that boasts a 15 percent reduction in fuel burn compared with other turbine engines in its class.

The H160’s five Blue Edge main rotor blades will deliver a 3 db improvement in noise. The rotor hub, meanwhile, will be constructed of carbon fiber with a thermoplastic resin.

With the introduction of the H160, Airbus Helicopters also announced a change to the naming conventions for all its helicopters, which now start with the letter H instead of EC, the letters used when the company was still called Eurocopter.

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