Since late January, the Airbus Helicopters’ H160 has moved up a notch with a second operational test aircraft. Unlike the first prototype, this rotorcraft is equipped with Turbomeca engines; the engines that will power the H160 production version. A third helicopter will complement the test fleet by the end of the year.
Designed to carry out offshore assignments, search and rescue missions, and even the transportation of V.I.P’s, the H160 has a carrying capacity of up to 12 passengers at a cruising speed of 190 mph (300 km/h). Although its price remains confidential it is due to enter the market soon.
On the production side, as shown in this computer-generated picture, a new final assembly line is to be constructed, next to the helicopter manufacturer’s existing premises at Marignane (southern France), with its inauguration scheduled for next summer. By combining robotics and digital technologies, this assembly line will complete an H160 in 18 weeks - half the time for the H155 (formerly called the Dauphin). Eventually, fifty units per year will be produced, with the first delivery expected for 2018.