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Eurocopter shows off high-speed X3 copter


While EADS’ military midair refueling program may have fallen through, the company is betting that the Department of Defense will go for its next generation helicopter, the X3, to replace aging Blackhawks and other helicopters in the coming decades. Eurocopter is taking the X3 prototype on tour to a number of military installations this summer, showing off its handling and cruise speeds, which have topped a whopping 267 mph in flight tests so far. The X3 prototype has a large conventional top rotor to hover, as well as two constant-speed propellers mounted on short wings on either side of the cabin. Unlike the V-22 Osprey, the two side propellers on the X3 don’t tilt upward and only provide forward thrust. And by using differential power on the two propellers, the X3 does away with needing a tail rotor to yaw the body. Eurocopter sees the X3 as a platform that could be expanded to make attack, utility and cargo versions. The military has yet to commit to purchasing any of the next-generation helicopters.