Eurocopter To Disclose ‘Significant Milestone’

 - September 23, 2010, 11:25 AM

On Monday, Eurocopter is to disclose a “significant milestone in [its] innovation roadmap” during a media event at the helicopter manufacturer’s headquarters in Marignane, France. Industry observers believe the company could finally unveil its plans for a compound helicopter, which is known in the industry as the X3. In 2008, Eurocopter filed a patent application at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “a rotorcraft [capable of] high speed and…long distances.” The document took as an example a 16-seat rotorcraft that could fly more than 400 nm at 220 knots. Another possibility is that Eurocopter could announce a Dauphin/EC 155 medium-twin helicopter replacement. Dubbed the X4, it was widely expected to be launched by June. If any new helicopter is announced on Monday, it could very well feature fly-by-wire controls. In 2007, Eurocopter was talkative about developing FBW systems for civil helicopters. However, more recently the company has become tight lipped and declined to give an update on the technology; a spokesperson told AIN that it is “too secret.” Details of Eurocopter’s “significant milestone” will be covered in Tuesday’s issue of AINalerts.