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Update – IMH 2023: European Union's next-gen rotorcraft effort targets UK and other new partners

A model of the Airbus RACER high-speed helicopter concept that may be leveraged under the EU's ENGRT effort. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The European Union's (EU's) European Next Generation Rotorcraft Technologies (ENGRT) programme is looking to take on new partners, including the United Kingdom, as it seeks to develop the technologies for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft for the post-2035 timeframe.

Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter (IMH) 2023 conference being held in London from 21 to 23 February, Steve Allen, vice-president of Strategic Development at Leonardo Helicopters, said, with ENGRT having been formally launched in late 2022, the UK and others could join the programme in later phases alongside the current participants of France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.

“[With] phase one very much in progress looking at concepts, phase two and phase three [are being constructed] at the moment, and the EU and the [Ministries of Defence] MoDs of those countries are very keen to include potential associated countries,” Allen said. “I should highlight including the UK, and the unusual circumstances being post-Brexit.”.

The ENGRT effort was formally launched on 1 December 2022. 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. The project will explore not only future technologies but also the concept of operations of European militaries for their use.

In terms of possible focus areas, speed, manoeuvrability, range, safety, survivability and ballistic tolerance, and low detectability (radar, visual, and acoustic), are all likely to be explored, as will be the need to avoid complexity and maximise availability while controlling costs, weight, and size.

This article, originally published on 22 February 2023, has been updated with new information and imagery.

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