8 February: Airbus’ Skyways unmanned aerial vehicle – which was designed for autonomous parcel deliveries – makes its first flight demonstration, validating the drone’s automatic loading and unloading capabilities.
1 March: Babcock becomes the global launch customer for Airbus’ H160 after signing a five-year framework agreement to purchase a fleet of the medium-class helicopters. The H160s will be used for emergency medical services (EMS) and other critical services missions – starting in Europe and deployed progressively across Babcock’s bases worldwide.
1 April: Airbus appoints Bruno Even, 49, as Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Helicopters. He reports to Airbus CEO Tom Enders, and joins the company’s Executive Committee.
12 April: Airbus celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the company’s most recognizable innovations for helicopters: the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor. Initially developed to provide additional safeguards for personnel working around the rotorcraft when on the ground – and to protect the tail rotor in forward flight, as well as in complicated operational environments – the concept of shrouding the tail rotor also led to sound reduction, resulting from Airbus research and optimisation.
18 June: The Hong Kong-based Government Flying Service (GFS) receives three H175s in the public services configuration, becoming the world’s first operator of this new variant – which enlarges the helicopter’s mission capacity to search and rescue (SAR) operations, emergency medical services, law enforcement and firefighting, as well as land and maritime border control operations.
24 July: The LCH (Light Civil Helicopter) prototype’s maiden flight – conducted in Marignane, France – marks a major milestone in the three years of close cooperation between Airbus and KAI (Korean Aerospace Industries) in developing this rotorcraft version.
25 July: The final series production German Tiger attack helicopter is delivered. This completes the series production of Tiger support helicopters at Airbus’ Donauwörth, Germany facility, which began in 1999.
20 December: The demonstrator for Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 light military tactical unmanned aerial system performs a fully unmanned autonomous flight at the Istres air base in southern France. During the 30-minute flight, it successfully executes a variety of flight patterns before landing in an autonomous mode.