Air International 2023-06
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G.Sands, G.Armstrong - Masking success
The H160 has opened a new chapter in the history of Airbus Helicopters. This innovative medium helicopter became the first member of the H generation
The French Navy has already taken delivery of the first of six H160s that will perform shore-based SAR missions. The aircraft is part of an interim fleet that will be delivered by the partnership formed between Airbus Helicopters, Babcock, and Safran Helicopter Engines
The H160 has innovatively shaped Blue Edge blades, which reduce the Blade Vortex Interaction noise generation. Added to this is an automatic variable rotor speed control system that automates the rotor towards lower rotational speeds when the helicopter flies close to the ground, both of which reduce the noise signature of the H160 significantly
Airbus Helicopters signed a contract with GDAT, one of China’s most prominent helicopter lessors and operators, for 50 H160s in April this year. This contract is the most significant single order for the H160 in the civil and parapublic market sectors
The H160M Guepard will bring new capabilities to the French armed forces due in part to its increased connectivity, manoeuvrability, low acoustic footprint and fully integrated support system. The 169 aircraft order is extremely valuable to the OEM
The entry into the oil and gas market for the H160 was secured with the order for four aircraft by international energy group Shell which selected leading US offshore helicopter operator PHI to operate the H160s in support of contracts in the Gulf of Mexico
Major components sub-assemblies from manufacturing facilities around Europe are brought together on the H160’s final assembly line at Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane production line in southern France
French Navy H160s will start operating from the Lanveoc-Poulmic naval air station (Brittany), Cherbourg Airport (Normandy), and the naval air station in Hyeres (Provence). The interim fleet of H160s will ensure critical SAR missions while awaiting the delivery of the H160M Guepard
France is the first country to order the H160 for law enforcement missions. The OEM is developing this new configuration in co-operation with the Gendarmerie Nationale to provide a tailored mission management system
The dynamic helicopter test bed, or ‘ground leader’, is a full representative H160 allowing all rotors and gearboxes to be run. Over 600 hours have been ‘flown’ on the test bed airframe to date
The Helionix Suite in the cockpit includes four reconfigurable smart 6 x 8-inch displays which offer the pilot a wealth of options, including a flight navigation display (FND), Vehicle Monitoring Display (VMD) and external video images when optional cameras are fitted to the fuselage
The ACH160 is the premium version of the H160 intended for the private and business customer base
In its standard transport role, the H160 can carry one or two pilots and 12 passengers in what the company calls ‘comfort seats’. In such a configuration, the H160 can fast cruise at 150kts for a maximum endurance of four hours and 30 minutes