Airbus Helicopters Launches X6 Development

Airbus Helicopters launched its new X6 helicopter at the Paris Air Show on June 16. The futuristic-looking rotorcraft is tailored for the civil market and intended as a replacement for the Super Puma, initially being targeted at oil and gas industry missions.

The company believes it will also be ideally suited for search and rescue, VIP and other missions. The launch at Paris marked to beginning of the concept phase, initiating a two-year definition period for this next-generation heavy-lift rotorcraft.

Major marketing, architecture and design choices for the twin-engine aircraft will be assessed to meet customer operational requirements during the concept phase, supported by a significant dialog with customers worldwide to validate the X6’s value creation for their operations.

In defining and developing the X6, Airbus Helicopters says it will build on its reputation as a recognized leader in the industry, resulting in a next-generation, twin-engine rotorcraft that is mature and all-weather ready – including full de-icing – from the first delivery. One of the major innovations to be integrated on X6 is the Fly-by-Wire flight control system.

Once adequate programme maturity has been achieved in the concept phase, a subsequent development phase will follow, leading to an X6 entry into service, which is anticipated in the 2020s. Alan Warnes