Julian Moxon/PARIS

The European Commission (EC) has succeeded in bringing together the European helicopter industry to combine proposals for tiltwing/tiltrotor aircraft projects in a single programme. A decision on EC research is expected in mid-year.

Eurocopter proposed its tilt-rotor solution independently of an Agusta-GKN Westland submission for a tiltwing aircraft. The two were turned down in the first phase of the technology element of the programme, with the EC insisting that the two come up with a single proposal (Flight International, 13-19 October, 1999). At the time the EC said the idea of added value for Europe "went with the notion of a consensual solution-to have two parties fighting each other was seen as negative".

The teams have a joint proposal, called 2-GETHER, within which the two concepts continue. The EC is to decide whether it will be included in its Fifth Freedom programme by the end of June. If it succeeds, a decision on the best solution will not be made until the four-year programme is complete.

"They will be treated as a common basis for technology and analytical studies," says Eurocopter tiltrotor chief Philippe Galland. He adds that the idea was to present a "simpler" concept based around a proven design - the tiltrotor - and the more "technically challenging" Agusta-Westland idea. Both are structured around a 10t convertible with a capacity of 20 passengers.

Source: Flight International