Energy conglomerate Babcock will be the global launch customer for the new Airbus Helicopters H160 medium twin, with plans to take delivery of "a fleet for worldwide operations" over a five-year period, the helicopter manufacturer announced Thursday at Heli-Expo 2018. Babcock's unspecified number of H160s are destined for EMS and other critical services missions, starting in Europe and then deployed progressively across Babcock’s worldwide bases.
The operator’s aviation business provides mission-critical services in 14 countries, ranging from helicopter emergency medical services, aerial firefighting, search and rescue, surveillance operations, and oil and gas transportation. “The H160 was a natural choice as its large cabin and low vibration levels and its technology will make it a safe and comfortable environment for mission critical services,” said Babcock International Group chief executive for aviation Roger Hardy.
Airbus' H160 features the Helionix avionics suite, an all-composite airframe, flat-floor cabin, oversize cabin windows, and a baggage compartment that can hold 661 pounds. Its cabin can be configured to seat four or eight passengers in executive/VIP layouts, or 12 in a utility configuration.
The H160 also incorporates a variety of new technologies, among them Blue Edge active tracking main rotor blades in a five-blade system with a double-sweep design that reduces noise and contributes to a smoother ride, and 10 to 15 percent better fuel consumption than the H155 family it replaces.