The Racer high-speed VTOL helicopter demonstrator is depicted in flight.

The Racer

An aerodynamic configuration at the service of high speed

The Racer is a high-speed helicopter demonstrator that aims to leverage increased speed to deliver significant added value for citizens and operators. The simple, safe and proven aerodynamic formula seeks to achieve the best trade-off between speed, cost-efficiency and mission performance.

A focus on aerodynamic efficiency 

The Racer builds upon the success of Airbus Helicopters' X3 demonstrator, which validated an aerodynamic configuration that combines a traditional main rotor and innovative lateral rotors. 

Optimised for a cruise speed of 400 km/h, the Racer features a variety of innovative technologies, including:

  • A characteristic box-wing designed for aerodynamic efficiency
  • A hybrid metallic-composite airframe designed for low weight
  • A new high-voltage, direct-current electric generator
  • A rear fuselage with an asymmetric cross-section profile, designed to optimise hover performances without penalising the forward and cruise flight phases
An infographic showing the technical specifications of The Racer.

The Racer demonstrator – developed as part of the European Clean Sky 2 research programme – has an optimal blend of high performance and reduced operating costs.

Improved environmental and acoustic footprint

Improving the environmental and acoustic performance of helicopters is a key focus area of the Racer demonstrator programme. The dynamic configuration enables 15% less fuel burn per nautical mile at 180 kts compared to a conventional helicopter at 130 kts. The innovative Safran Eco-Mode hybrid-electric system – which allows one of the two Aneto-1X engines to be switched to stand-by while in cruise flight – generates further fuel savings of up to 30%. The distinct architecture of the Racer formula also contributes to lowering its operational acoustic footprint. 

Racer Clean Sky Info

Developed as part of the European Research Clean Sky 2 project, the Racer pulls together the skills and know-how of 40 partners in 13 European countries.

Leveraging high speed for multiple missions

The Racer intends to demonstrate the advantages of high speed for a wide range of missions. These missions include the following:

  • Emergency medical services (where the greatest chance of saving lives depends on help arriving within the first “golden hour”)
  • Search and rescue operations
  • Public service
  • Commercial transportation
An infographic showing the technical specifications of The Racer.

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