Airbus Helicopters unveiled Tuesday the aerodynamic configuration of Rapid And Cost-Effective Rotorcraft (RACER) at the Paris air show 2017.
The Racer is being developed as part of the Clean Sky 2 European research programme, the company announced the same day.
This high speed demonstrator will be optimised for a cruise speed of more than 400 km/h. Final assembly of the demonstrator is expected to start in 2019, with a first flight the next year.
Guillaume Faury, Airbus Helicopters CEO said, “This new project, pulling together dozens of European partners through the Clean Sky 2 initiative, aims to bring increased speed and range at the right cost, thanks to a simple, safe and aerodynamic formula.
The new project will pave the way for new time-sensitive services for 2030 and beyond, setting new benchmarks for high-speed helicopter transportation.
”The Racer demonstrator will be built around a simple architecture, ensuring safety and cost-efficiency. An innovative “box-wing” design, optimised for aerodynamic efficiency, will provide lift in cruise mode while isolating passengers during ground operations from the “pusher” lateral rotors designed to generate thrust in forward flight.
Optimised for performance and low acoustic signature, these lateral rotors as well as the main rotor will be driven by two RTM322 engines.
An “eco mode” will be tested by the engine manufacturer to demonstrate an electrically-powered “start and stop” of one engine in flight, thus generating fuel savings and increasing range.
The Racer demonstrator will also benefit from a hybrid metallic-composite airframe, specifically designed for low weight and low recurring costs. It will also be equipped with a new high voltage direct current electrical generation, which will significantly contribute to weight reduction.