Eurocopter has lifted the veil on its X3 demonstrator. This high-speed helicopter is to deliver a forward speed of more than 220 knots.
Flight trials of the X3 are already underway. The twin-turboshaft powered helicopter uses two propellers on a short wing for forward speed, with a five-blade main rotor.
Eurocopter at one point explored the idea of a tiltrotor, but in recent years has gone cold on the design idea. The company says the X3, or H3 for High-speed, long-range Hybrid Helicopter, could be used for military applications as well as search-and-rescue operations and other roles.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling, in unveiling the design, says “the teams at Eurocopter took this hybrid helicopter from concept to first flight in less than three years, which demonstrates their skills, capabilities and dedication to defining the future of rotary-wing aircraft.”
Flight trials began September 6 at the French Istres test center. Trials will run through December, when the helo will undergo planned updates, before a new test campaign is to start in March when speed is slated to top the 220 knot target.