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Europe formally launches ENGRT next-gen rotorcraft effort

The RACER concept is one option for solving the speed requirement of future rotorcraft that Airbus is now exploring as part of the European Next-Generation Rotorcraft Technologies with Leonardo. (Airbus)

The European Union has formally launched the European Next-Generation Rotorcraft Technologies (ENGRT) programme to develop the technologies for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft for the post-2035 timeframe.

Speaking to Janes and other defence media in Madrid, Matthieu Louvot, executive vice-president, Airbus Helicopters Programmes, said the project first announced earlier in 2022 was launched on 1 December.

“We are at a crucial point for the European Next-Generation Rotorcraft Technologies programme. The programme is now signed, and the companies are now working on it. Airbus Helicopters is co-ordinating the consortium, and Leonardo is very much involved in that together with us,” Louvot said during the annual Airbus Trade Media Briefing (TMB) on 12 December.

“A lot of countries have joined, with 24 companies involved. It is interesting because it is one of the first major projects where the European Commission and the European Union have direct involvement with its European Defence Fund, along with the defence authorities of France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.”

With Airbus Helicopters co-leading the project alongside Leonardo Helicopters, ENGRT is geared at paving the way for the future of military rotorcraft in Europe. As Louvot noted, the project will explore not only future technologies but also the concept of operations (CONOPS) of European militaries for their use.

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