4-Mar-2015 Source: HeliHub.com
The most anticipated event of this year’s Heli-Expo has happened – the reveal of the Airbus Helicopters X4 medium class helicopter, now to be known as the Airbus Helicopter H160. A large crowd assembled for the countdown with the reveal scheduled for 11am (local).
During the launch Faury revealed that the H160 is the first fully-composite civil helicopter. It features a Spheriflex bearingless main rotor hub featuring composite thermoplastic technology which reduces weight and increases damage tolerance. Faury drew attention to the fact that it is the first fully composite civil helicopter to come to market, which also features Helionix, the first avionics suite designed by an OEM for helicopter operations.
It has an electric tail rotor, electric landing gear and brakes to reduce hydraulics. The Fenestron has been tilted 12° to increase stability during final approach and landing.
Blue Edge blades should reduce sound levels to 50% that of the current Dauphin range – the type that the H160 is destined to replace.
Two of the three prototypes are in existence; the first ‘powering on’ at the end of November 2014 which the second is being assembled.
Earlier, Airbus Helicopter President Guillaume Faury had announced the new naming policy for all of his company’s products. The legacy ‘AS’ and ‘EC’ branding will now be replaced by the letter ‘H’. All military versions will be identified by an ‘M’ after the model name Consistent with the strategies utilized by Airbus, the “AS” and “EC” letters for in-production helicopters are replaced by “H.” Military versions will be identified with an “M” after the model name.
The H160’s development began in 2013 and the first flight will take place later this year. The planned first entry into service should be in 2018.
Andrew Drwiega – HeliHub.com