Airbus to join the fight

Airbus has announced that they will be attempting to compete in the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Competitive Prototype. The Airbus X³ (cubed) s an experimental high-speed compound helicopter. The X³ is based off the Airbus AS365 Dolphin. Airbus put two propellers to the helicopter.


The X³ has set several speed records through its use of two propellers on short wings either side of a Dauphin-based fuselage, topped by a five-bladed main rotor. The aircraft logged more than 155 flight hours over 199 flights, reaching a level flight speed of 255 knots (472 km/h) on June 7, 2013.

The Army launched the FARA competition in October 2018 when it issued a formal program solicitation, with the aim of finding a new armed scout aircraft for the service.

“This platform is the ‘knife fighter’ of future Army Aviation capabilities, a small form factor platform with maximized performance,” the solicitation stated.
Airbus was among those to submit a proposal in December 2018, with the first of four potential phases of program development scheduled to begin in June 2019.
“Yes, we are looking at the FARA demonstrator program, based on the technology we have developed . . . in terms of a high-speed platform based on the X³ in particular,” Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, told journalists during a media briefing ahead of HAI Heli-Expo.

The Army will select four to six bidders to take part in the program’s initial phase, which will give candidates nine months to develop preliminary designs and provide data supporting their bid. From there, two or more will be downselected to take part in a detailed design, build and test phase.
If selected for the second phase, the contenders will receive about $735 million to cover their aircraft’s development from 2020 to 2023, with an anticipated first flight in November 2022. The current parties involved are Airbus, Boeing, Bell, Aurora Flight Sciences, AVX Aircraft, Karem Aircraft, Leonardo Helicopters, Piasecki Aircraft Corporation, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin, and Textron.


Whoa! That’s a weird lookin’ chopper right there. Interesting approach with the dual side propellers.


255 knots! Flip that’s fast! Glad to see Airbus going on with this project.


Not the first time the world has seen something like this,

The Fairey Rotodyne was designed like this. Now it wasn’t succesful but will the The X³ be?


Interesting. I never knew there were aircraft like that. Interesting! Thanks for the education 😄


One thing that pops to mind straight off is the mounting ability for exterior weaponry and the boarding and de-boarding.

It’ll be interesting see the engineering over all, I’d like see where they’d place the weapons at.

1 Like

The wing mounted propellers straigh away limit its capability greatly as they require either the props to be shut down or a very careful exit if disembarking troops unless they want to be shredded and there’s no time to be careful or shut props on the middle of a war zone.

I’m curious what is this replacing and what’s the design brief?

1 Like

If it’s selected it’ll replace the AH-64 “Apache”

Nooo. It better be good then because many men owe their life to apaches and it’s undoubtedly the best CAS asset out there probably alongside the A-10.

And it’s formed the backbone of a massive number of countries CAS and Attack Forces.


its gonna be strange to see this bird.But its still looks nice

1 Like

Woah, that’s actually pretty cool looking. Airbus being awesome as usual (; Looking forward to see the development!


I like it!

1 Like

That is one of the coolest copters I’ve ever seen! 😍

1 Like

Its also one of the least practical i have ever seen.

1 Like

I saw him fly, he’s very impressive

1 Like

Why’s that

I guess they won’t be doing any witch operations!

1 Like

The lack of ability for fast (dis)embarkation of personnel and lack of space for exterior armaments something very important as we can see on the AH-64.

Unless they want to be shredded no.