Airbus Helicopters has flown the third prototype (PT3) of its H160 medium-twin, with the maiden sortie taking place on 13 October from the airframer's headquarters in Marignane, France.
Service entry for the Safran Helicopter Engines Arrano-powered rotorcraft is planned for 2019, the company confirms.
Equipped with a cabin interior similar to the eventual serial-production aircraft, PT3 will contribute to flight test and certification activities.
"The third prototype incorporates a significant amount of modifications based on feedback resulting from the first two years of testing by development, production and support teams,” says Bernard Fujarski, senior vice-president, head of H160 programme.
Airbus Helicopters has so far accumulated more than 500h of flight testing using two prototypes since the maiden flight of aircraft PT1 in June 2015.
The manufacturer says the H160's new final assembly line at Marignane is almost complete and ready to "start serial production shortly".
Initial deliveries will focus on the passenger transport segment – either oil and gas or commercial transport – followed by emergency medical services.
Airbus Helicopters recently revealed that the H160 would have two maximum take-off weights: a basic version at 5,670kg (12,500lb) and an "extended gross weight" configuration of 6,050kg.