6/21/12: The X 3 is a Eurocopter proof of concept demonstration aircraft blending rotor and turboprop technologies.
The helicopter is designed to provide a low cost high-speed operating form factor while ensuring the versatility and functionalities of a helicopter, such as VTOL, hovering, autorotation.
It is aimed at customers who use rotorcraft for various missions where speed or mission duration is of the essence and therefore who could use higher speed to provide better solutions to their core missions.
And it aims at “affordable” high speed, by which Eurocopter sees mission costs reduced by the rotorcraft using both rotor blades and turbo props to gain efficiencies.
And by building from a technical architecture extremely simple and close to classic helicopter platforms, Eurocopter is very confident it can provide limited increase of the production costs of the product.
According to Eurocopter:
The X3 demonstrator is equipped with two turboshaft engines that power a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings.
A wide range of utilizations are envisaged for this hybrid configuration, including long-distance search and rescue (SAR), coast guard duties, border patrol missions, passenger transport, off-shore airlift, along with inter-city shuttle services.
It also is well suited for military missions in special forces operations, troop transport, combat SAR and medical evacuation – benefitting from the combination of higher cruise speeds with excellent vertical takeoff/landing performance.