Airbus Helicopters today unveiled the H160 prototype in the presence of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. This innovative helicopter performed its first ground run yesterday on May 28, 2015.
Airbus said the helicopter carried out its maiden engine ground run on May 28 ahead of first flight later this year.
The H160 opens a new chapter in the history of Airbus Helicopters. Joining the product range between the H145 (formerly EC145) and the H175 (formerly EC175), this innovative medium helicopter becomes the first new member of the H generation. The entire design was based on one overriding goal: to create added value for customers in terms of performance, economic competitiveness, safety and comfort.
Both cleaner and quieter, the H160 takes a step forward in respect for the environment. Configurations being developed include offshore transportation, business and private aviation, public services, and commercial passenger transport. The H160 was unveiled at the Heli-Expo trade show in March 3 2015.
The 5.5-6 ton class helicopter is the first-ever, fully-composite civil helicopter and is suited for oil and gas operations; public services, air medical and coast guard duties; along with commercial transport, private and business aviation.
The H160 features the breakthrough Blue Edge® main rotor blades, which reduce exterior noise levels by 50 percent (3 dB) and also allow a payload increase of up to 100 kg.
The composite airframe is lighter in weight, more robust, resistant to corrosion and fatigue, while requiring less maintenance.
With a cruise speed of 160 kts, the H160 can carry 12 passengers at distances of up to 120 nautical miles for oil and gas missions, and a 450 nautical mile range with 20-minute reserve in public service or search and rescue tasks.
The H160 is powered by two Turbomeca 1,100-shp. Arrano turboshaft engines. The flight test and development program will consist of three dedicated prototype aircraft, fully supported by two new ground-based integration test means and service entry is planned for 2018.