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Airbus Challenges AgustaWestland’s AW139 with the H160 Helicopter

In March 2015, Airbus Helicopters officially unveiled its new H160 medium-class twin-engined rotorcraft at Heli-Expo in Orlando, Florida, ending months of speculation. Over the past two years, they have been working on significantly altering the capabilities of the new model in order to effectively target and take over the popular AgustaWestland type. Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury describes this new helicopter as “the AW139 killer.” Basically, the new H160 model will match the performance of the AW139, while weighing 1 ton less. In addition, Faury says the H160 will be around 15-20% more "energy efficient" than its rivals.

This new H160 is the world’s first all-composite civil helicopter that promises a smooth ride at a consistent 185mph and can carry 12 passengers for up to 120 nautical miles. It features Airbus’ Blue Edge blades that have been reshaped for noise reduction as well as a fully enclosed fenestron, or tail rotor, that increases safety and cuts out unwanted aerodynamic side effects.

Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus Group is a European multinational aerospace and defense corporation that manufactures aircraft parts as well as civil airliners. Airbus was originally formed as the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), but in January of 2014 was reorganized as Airbus Group combining the divisions for development and marketing of civil and military aircraft, as well as communications systems, missiles, space rockets, helicopters, satellites, and related systems.

Airbus Helicopters, Inc. currently exists as a subsidiary of Airbus Group, Inc. and dominates approximately 50% of the civil helicopter market. Their civil helicopter models include the EC120B, Ecureuil, EC135, EC145, Dauphin, EC175, SuperPuma, and now the H160. Under their military line, the company offers models such as the Fennec, EC635, EC645, Panther, Cougar, NH90, and Tiger. Airbus Helicopters currently has over 900 employees and is headquartered in Grand Prairie, Texas.

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