Airbus Helicopters has commenced production of its first pre-serial H160 by fitting the aircraft’s rear fuselage. The assembly took place in Albacete, Spain, while the fuselage arrived from the company’s facilities in Donauwörth, Germany, earlier in the year.
A total of ten pre-serial aircraft are planned and will be assembled progressively, allowing the company to fine tune its production processes. As the processes gain in maturity, assembly lead times are set to decrease to reach the target assembly time of 40 days at full production rate.
As previously reported, Babcock will be the launch customer for the type. “We are proud that the largest civil helicopter operator has selected the H160 to become its next generation solution for saving lives. As the H160 launch customer, Babcock inaugurates a new era for helicopter operators,” said Ben Bridge, executive vp for global business at Airbus Helicopters. “In every aspect, from industrial production, to maintenance and fleet management and of course mission readiness, the H160 represents the new standard in helicopter capabilities for the next 30 years,” he added.