Eurocopter president and CEO Lutz Bertling says specifications for the new X4 helicopter will be “frozen” in the second quarter, before June, to be followed by a formal launch of the program.

Designed as a replacement for the EC155 Dauphin medium-class twin, the X4 is to set the stage for technologies that Bertling says will be baseline for all Eurocopter helicopters in the 2020 decade.

“Flying this helicopter will be a totally different way of flying an aircraft,” said Bertling at the Helicopter Association International’s annual exhibition and trade show in Orlando this morning. “The first time you set foot in this helicopter, you will miss something – the cockpit.”

Bertling acknowledges that some of the technologies, for which the French government and others are providing research funding, will not be ready for introduction until after the X4 comes to market in 2016.