Eurocopter raised the curtain today and gave the aviation world a look at its X3, a high-speed hybrid helicopter that the company calls “a new milestone in (its) innovation roadmap.”
The X3 will combine VTOL capabilities with a cruise speed of more than 220 knots, according to the company’s engineers.
The design includes a trio of rotors, with a five-blade main system on top and twin-prop short-span fixed wings on either side of the cockpit.
“This creates an advanced transportation system offering the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft and the full hover flight capabilities of a helicopter,” says a statement on the company’s web site.
Read more about testing plans for the Eurocopter X3 after the jump. [more]
The company expects buyers to use the helicopter in long-range search and rescue missions, as well as coastal and border patrols, in addition to medical and military roles. The first X3 flight took place two weeks ago in France.
Initial testing will continue through the end of the year before speed testing starts in March 2011, the company said.
Read more about the today's development on the Eurocopter X3 from Aviation Week, Plane News, FlightGlobal and Business Jet Traveler.