Despite a sector downturn that is causing pain to all the major helicopter manufacturers the development of new products continues unabated. After all, what better way to stimulate the market than by promising customers a product that is better – faster, more powerful, more sophisticated – than their existing rotorcraft?
While some new programmes are advancing at a brisk clip – the Airbus Helicopters H160, for example – progress is slower elsewhere. In some instances – the Bell Helicopter 525 and Leonardo AW609 – delays have been caused by flight-test crashes, while in others – the X6, for instance – a segment-specific downturn is the more likely cause.
However, what is clear is that over the coming years – certainly 2018 is looking busy – a wealth of new helicopters is going to hit the market.