How Airbus Is Boosting Automation Features In The H160

Credit: Airbus - photo by Anthony Pecchi

This is a shortened version of the article 'Airbus Boosts Automation Features In The H160' by Tony Osborne.

Airbus is in the final throes of certifying its H160 twin-engine medium rotorcraft, which emerged out of the company’s X4 program in 2015. The helicopter is expected to reach its first customer—an undisclosed buyer in the U.S.—during the second half of 2020, followed by deliveries to global launch operator Babcock.

With a maximum takeoff weight of 6,050 kg (13,340 lb.), the Safran Arrano 1A-powered aircraft is aimed for an anticipated wave of orders as operators plan to replace Bell 412s, early-model Leonardo AW139s and Sikorsky S-76s. The H160 also is intended to fit into the product family space held by the H155, whose development is being transferred to Korea Aerospace Industries as the basis for its Light Civil Helicopter and Light Armed Helicopter.

Find out more about the H160’s development and what Airbus focused on.

Helionix has a “complex architecture,” he says, yet that complexity is not passed to the pilot. Instead, the system manages activity in the background and only “lets the pilot know if necessary.”

Demonstrating the aircraft’s systems during a flight in January using the third prototype H160, Gensse showed how the Arrano engines can be started and brought to idle in just 2 min., with the procedure managed by the full-authority digital engine control. An onboard training mode can simulate engine-out conditions even during takeoff.

Hover over the interactive graph below to see the values. 



Learn what high-level equipment has been provided to the baseline aircraft.

Gensse and the engineering team are particularly proud of the addition of a vortex-ring-state (VRS) warning system that provides visual and aural alarms when the aircraft is approaching VRS flight conditions.

Discover more about VRS and the benefits as well as other areas of development for the aircraft. The H160’s orderbook has been slow to fill, in part due to the ongoing weakness in the oil-and-gas market and because the aircraft is arriving slightly later on the market than originally planned. When launched, the aircraft was expected to hit the market in 2018.

However, the company has secured orders for several corporate and VIP-configured machines. Babcock, which signed a five-year agreement to purchase an undisclosed number of helicopters in 2018, is expected to use the H160 to support its emergency medical service business around Europe.


Learn more about the current orders and what they mean for the market.

If you would like to discover more about Airbus' H160, take a look at our Program Profile.