Capitalising on its expertise in composites and mechatronics, Vision Systems has been chosen as a partner on the Rapid And Cost-Effective Rotorcraft (RACER) project, which is part of the Clean Sky 2 European research programme. The company is developing two composite jettisonable window frames for the cockpit and one for the cabin.
All three windows are equipped with Vision Systems’ X-Lite composite glass, as well as a composite electric footstep. This motorised footstep can fold down and up, back into the structure of the rotorcraft, in flight.
The RACER high-speed demonstrator will be optimised for a cruise speed of more than 400km/h (249mph), and its developers are aiming to achieve the best trade-off between speed, cost-efficiency, sustainability and mission performance. Final assembly of the demonstrator is expected to start in late 2019, with a first flight in 2020. This new rotorcraft is designed to find applications as an alternative to business jets, as an air taxi, or as a new generation of military, oil and gas and rescue helicopters.
Vision Systems invested €3m (US$3.25m) in its composite unit Fibertech, which it established in 2015. The group has recently integrated new skills with dedicated production equipment including laser machines, a cutting table, a heating chamber, autoclave and numerical centre. The company plans to hire 15 more people by the end of 2020, mainly in technical positions. It predicts its yearly sales perspectives for 2022 should exceed €6m (US$6.49m).