AIRBUS’S RACER PROGRAMME REACHES CRUISE SPEED
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.