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Airbus pushes Racer derivative for NGRC and European independence

9th June 2022 - 09:00 GMT | by Ian Parker in Portsmouth

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Graphic from Airbus Helicopters depicting the main design features of Racer. (Image: Airbus Helicopters)

Will a solution based on the Rapid and Cost-Efficient Rotorcraft demonstrator offer next-generation capabilities for NATO members seeking to replace about 1,000 helicopters in 2035-2040?

The UK is leading the Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) programme with fellow NATO members France, Germany, Greece and Italy to replace up to 1,000 helicopters in the 8-15t maximum take-off weight (MTOW) bracket in 2035 to 2040.

Spain, the Netherlands and the US are also involved in NGRC as observer countries.

Conventional helicopter architecture has a limit of 180kt because of advancing blade transonic drag and retreating blade stall. But the stated need in NGRC for up to 220kt is pushing designers towards hybrid designs, which include lateral rotors and entail larger MTOWs for similar payloads.

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