We checked out the high-tech Airbus H160 helicopter and are convinced it could be a game changer
- The Airbus H160 is the latest entrant in the ultra-competitive medium-sized, twin-engine helicopter market.
- The H160 serves as a replacement for the H155, which is a facelifted version of the iconic AS365 Dauphin.
- According to Airbus, the H160 features technology that required 68 new patents.
- Airbus expects to deliver its first European certified H160 around the end of 2019 with US spec version to arrive six to eight months later.
In 2014, Airbus retired its long-running Eurocopter brand and reorganized its vertical take-off and landing division into Airbus Helicopters.
And the first “purely Airbus” creation to emerge since the rebranding is the Airbus H160. It’s the company’s newest entrant into the medium-sized twin-engine helicopter market.
“The H160 is coming into one of the most needed segments for us,” Airbus Helicopters Inc. CEO Chris Emerson told Business Insider. “It’s a replacement for the current H155 and is able to scale up to the bottom end of the larger H175.”
The H160 is able to deliver vastly superior performance to the similarly sized, but older, H155. At the same time, it slots in below the much larger H175 that was designed to deliver speed and capacity for the company’s oil and gas customers, Emerson, who is the head of Airbus Helicopter’s North American business, said.
“This medium twin segment is heavily competitive,” Emerson added.
After all, there are legacy aircraft like the AgustaWestland AW139, the Sikorsky S76, and the legendary Bell 412 with which to contend.
However, the H160 is expected to be a step above its rivals in the segment. To create the new helicopter, Airbus incorporated technology from 68 new patents while reimagining its production process with input from the automotive industry.
Recently, Business Insider had the opportunity to get check out an H160 prototype in person during a North American customer demo tour Airbus held for the helicopter.
Here’s a closer look at the new Airbus H160 prototype:
Here it is! The Airbus H160 prototype.
It’s the successor to the current HC155.
It’s also a spiritual successor to the iconic AS365 Dauphin. (Here in US Coast Guard guise as the HH65A.)
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