Airbus Helicopters has launched a three-month sales tour with the second prototype of the H160 as the medium-twin programme moves closer to first delivery early next year.

The sales tour, which includes demonstration flights, begins three years after Airbus launched the H160 and seven years after the original X4 concept was publicly revealed.

But chief executive Guillaume Faury says the sales tour shows the programme is moving into a new phase, with the focus on converting letters of intent into orders and building up the sales backlog.

Faury was speaking shortly before UK-headquartered Babcock was revealed as the medium-twin's launch operator.

Airbus Helicopters displayed the H160 prototype at the Heli-Expo convention in Las Vegas.

The aircraft “embodies a lot of innovations the company has put together”, Faury says. “It is the first baby of our industrial transformation.”