Airbus Helicopters is the world’s number one civil and parapublic helicopter manufacturer, with a 30% share of the global fleet. The company’s civil and military helicopter range extends from the civil EC120 light helicopter to the EC225 Super Puma, and from the AS550 C3 Fennec to the Tiger on the military side.
Airbus Helicopters innovation: X3 and Bluecopter®
Airbus Helicopters pursues a strategy of product innovation, internationalisation, services expansion and operational improvement. One of the keys to its success is technological excellence. For example, its X3 high-speed hybrid helicopter demonstrator — combining vertical take-off and landing capabilities with a fast cruise speed of more than 220 kts — marks a new milestone in the company’s innovation roadmap. Airbus Helicopters has also pioneered flight testing of a hybrid helicopter, combining an internal combustion engine and electric motor. Furthermore, through its Bluecopter® programme, Airbus Helicopters is investigating a series of eco-efficient solutions for the helicopter of tomorrow. In addition, the company is seeking to significantly expand its service offering in order to enhance aircraft availability, mission performance and cost effectiveness for its customers.
X4: a new way of flying a helicopter
In the civil sector, Airbus Helicopters is pursuing a fast-paced product range renewal, with the latest products targeted for entry into service in the short-term being the twin-engine EC145 T2 and the medium-class EC175. Evolved from the EC145, the EC145 T2 combines Airbus Helicopters' breakthrough technologies, such as advanced cockpit design, modern avionics, optimised autopilot and the Fenestron tail rotor. Toward the second half of the decade, Airbus Helicopters is working on the development of the X4 helicopter, which will offer significantly improved performance, less fuel consumption and noise emissions, and will provide pilots with a new way of flying a helicopter.
NH90, Tiger and Lakota: cutting-edge helicopters for the military
The highlights of Airbus Helicopters' military range are the NH90 and Tiger helicopters. Designed for modern multi-mission capabilities and cost effectiveness throughout its lifecycle, the NH90 has been developed as a multi-role helicopter for both tactical transport (TTH) and naval (NFH) applications. The Tiger is a medium-weight, air-to-air combat and fire-support helicopter, with twin engines. It has been deployed in Afghanistan by the French Armed Forces since 2009, with three helicopters permanently on site. Additionally, Airbus Helicopters produces the UH-72 Lakota — a militarised version of the EC145 — for the US Army’s Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) programme.