Airbus Helicopters has unveiled at the Paris air show a high speed helicopter, codenamed the Racer.
The Racer with innovative features will be optimised for a cruise speed of more than 400 km/h.
It will be built around a simple architecture, ensuring safety and cost-efficiency.
Expected to come with an innovative “box-wing” design, optimised for aerodynamic efficiency, which will provide lift in cruise mode while isolating passengers during ground operations from the “pusher” lateral rotors designed to generate thrust in forward flight.
The Racer will aim to achieve the best trade-off between speed, cost-efficiency, sustainability and mission performance.
The final assembly of the Racer is expected to start in 2019, with a first flight in 2020.
Building upon the success of the self-funded X3 demonstrator, which validated the “compound” aerodynamic configuration – a combination of a traditional main rotor and innovative lateral rotors – the Racer project will bring this concept closer to an operational design and demonstrate its suitability for a wide spectrum of missions where increased speed and efficiency will bring significant added value for citizens and operators.
“Today we unveil our bold vision for the future of high-speed rotorcraft,” Guillaume Faury, Airbus Helicopters CEO, said in a statement.
“This new project, pulling together the skills and know-how of dozens of European partners through the Clean Sky 2 initiative, aims to bring increased speed and range at the right cost, thanks to a simple, safe and proven aerodynamic formula. It will pave the way for new time-sensitive services for 2030 and beyond, setting new benchmarks for high-speed helicopter transportation.”