Airbus Helicopters has unveiled plans to develop a brand new heavy-lift helicopter, dubbed the X6, as a follow-up to its popular H225 Super Puma.
Announced at the Paris Airshow on June 16, Airbus Helicopters says it has started a two-year development period for the concept helicopter, which it anticipates will see service entry early next decade.
A futuristic artist’s impression released of the twin–engine, fly-by-wire, six-bladed helicopter showed Airbus Helicopters will be planning to use technology and features common on its recent H175 and H160 designs in the X6’s development.
Targeting oil and gas, search and rescue and VIP customers, Airbus Helicopters’ chief executive Guillaume Faury said the X6 would be the first civil fly-by-wire helicopter in its product range.
“We came to the conclusion that fly-by-wire controls make sense for a heavy helicopter for the future as it helps to drive capability and safety,” Faury said.
“We intend to work with a customer advisory panel to ensure the configuration of the X6 is designed by customers, for customers.”
No engine has yet been selected for the concept phase, but several manufacturers including Turbomeca, with its new 3,000shp (2,237kW) Tech3000 engine, and developments from GE will be likely contenders.