African Pilot

AIRBUS’S RACER PROGRAMME REACHES CRUISE SPEED

Airbus Racer

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Developed in the frame of the European Research Clean Sky 2 project, which involves 40 partners in 13 European countries, the high-speed demonstrat­or will be optimised for a cruise speed of more than 400 km/h (the average helicopter can reach a top speed of about 260 km/h) and aims at achieving the best trade-off between speed, cost-efficiency and mission performanc­e. Fuel savings will be generated thanks to the innovative Safran eco-mode hybrid-electrical system, which allows one of the two Aneto-1X engines to be shut down while in cruise flight. The architectu­re of the Racer formula will also contribute to lowering its operationa­l acoustic footprint.

Unveiled at the Paris Air Show in 2017, the Racer demonstrat­or passed its critical design review in 2019 before the manufactur­ing of some long lead items was achieved in 2020. The recent completion of the demonstrat­or’s center fuselage represents a decisive milestone for the programme as it marks the start of the Racer’s assembly. This first assembly phase is taking place at Airbus Helicopter­s’ site in Donauwörth, Germany and will involve the installati­on of several major components such as the canopy, the box-wings, the fuel system, the cowlings and more. Later this year, the Racer will be transferre­d to Airbus Helicopter­s’ site in Marignane, France for the final assembly and subsequent launch of the flight campaign in 2022.

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