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The Military Transportation

Radical Dual Tilting Blade Helicopter Design Targets Speeds of Over 270mph 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-all-your-helicopter-racing-needs dept.
Zothecula writes: As one of the contenders in the race to win a $100 billion contract from the U.S. government for the next generation of attack helicopter in the Army's Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program, AVX Aircraft Company has conceived a futuristic machine kitted out with coaxial rotors, ducted fans and a retractable undercarriage that could hit speeds of over 270 mph (435 km/h).
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Radical Dual Tilting Blade Helicopter Design Targets Speeds of Over 270mph

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  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @02:34PM (#47408991)

    And piloted by a young rebel, with a cranky old sidekick as a navigator. They should make this into a TV show.

  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @02:36PM (#47409009) Homepage
    One hundred *billion* dollars? Enough to buy about 5000 Apache attack helicopters (I would not like to be on the wrong end of those). Why do I think this program will end up with a tiny, tiny fraction of that?
    • >> Why do I think this program will end up with a tiny, tiny fraction of ($100B)

      'cause you're not an American taxpayer, perhaps? I think I'll bet the opposite: "unforeseen" cost overruns will balloon this into a $300B project with only about 500 helicopters to show for it.

      • Are you sure you read the comment correctly? (Am I?) I believe he was saying that the $100b will buy a tiny fraction of the 5000 helicopters that could be purchased if they spent it on the existing platform, not that the cost will be a tiny fraction of the budget.
      • 500 helicopters that are not quite as good as the cheaper ones we already had.

      • Sikorsky has a demonstrator copter that does 290 MPH and the Eurocopter X-3 does 300 MPH.

        Why spend spend 100 Billion to go slower?

        • There's going 300MPH and there's going 275MPH with a four man crew and 14 grunts onboard, a Bugatti Veyron can go 254MPH but you can't tow a boat with it.

          • Have you tried?
            If a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII can tow a caravan (S2E6) [wikipedia.org] then why wouldn't a Bugatty be able to be fitted with a hitch?
            Okay, it won't reach 400 km/h while dragging a boat. It would surprise me if it reached 250 km/h with what once was a boat.

            • This might be an interesting concept, a combined land/water speed record where the land speed is made with the boat trailered, then the boat's speed on water is added to that, of course the boat would have to be launched from the trailer and tow vehicle. That would be right up Top Gear's alley.

        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          Why spend spend 100 Billion to go slower?

          In the case of Eurocopter, the answer is obvious - there would be uproar if the US Army brought significant amounts of equipment of any sort from filthy foreigners.

          I'm not sure if Sikorsky are USian or not. [Wikis] They're USian, so they should be OK to enter the bidding.

          Going dual, co-axial rotor is complex, but it can be done. The Russian Kamov corporation has been making them for over 50 years now, in a variety of configurations.

          Though I fly in helicopters all

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      Why do I think this program will end up with a tiny, tiny fraction of that?

      Why would you not think that $100b will be just a tiny fraction of the real final cost? What was the last completed military development project that came in at a tiny fraction of the original budgeted cost?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There were a number of things developed during our recent middle eastern wars that were done efficiently and at low cost. UAVs advanced rapidly, as did APCs and armor technology. Peace time weapon development is very expensive; the people setting the requirements get to indulge every fantasy, the R&D people explore every facet and the politicians milk it all for support.

        The alternative is to be empty handed when the barbarians appear at the gate. F-22s may be token aircraft in our inventory, but we k

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      One hundred *billion* dollars? Enough to buy about 5000 Apache attack helicopters (I would not like to be on the wrong end of those). Why do I think this program will end up with a tiny, tiny fraction of that?

      Or maybe, end up with nothing [wikipedia.org].

      • by CrankyFool (680025) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @04:17PM (#47409967)

        The Comanche program was cancelled after only $7B was spent in development, and before they started mass production. Is $7B a lot of money? Yes. But it's not $100B.

        • by roc97007 (608802)

          The Comanche program was cancelled after only $7B was spent in development, and before they started mass production. Is $7B a lot of money? Yes. But it's not $100B.

          True. I'm thinking the $100B is the budget over a number of years, not a huge up-front payment. And so, when it's canceled later and we decided to upgrade the Apache again, we probably will have wasted some subset of that.

          I wasn't trying to imply that we'd pop that much cash, but that we sorta have a record of starting programs for new aircraft only to cancel them after a few billion and go back to something already in the field.

          • by Andy Dodd (701)

            IIRC, it's spread over many years AND multiple services. The idea behind JMR/FVL is to replace pretty much the military's entire inventory of helos - not just a single service's inventory.

    • One hundred *billion* dollars? Enough to buy about 5000 Apache attack helicopters (I would not like to be on the wrong end of those). Why do I think this program will end up with a tiny, tiny fraction of that?

      Actually, only about 2500 at the current (FY2014) fly-away price ($35 million) of a new build current model (AH-64E).

      • by osu-neko (2604)

        Actually, only about 2500 at the current (FY2014) fly-away price ($35 million) of a new build current model (AH-64E).

        Wait for a 2-for-1 sale. ;)

    • by felrom (2923513)

      The Army doesn't want Apaches. They want a medium lift technology demonstrator that will replace their Blackhawk fleet while providing much more capability by exploring new vertical lift technologies. Then they'll run separate competitions to scale the technology up and down in size to replace their Apaches, Little Birds, and Chinooks.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Large hybrid titling ducted rotor quadcopters with electric drives and inboard turbine generators. Don't they already make model aircraft that look much like that and perform pretty well. Just need to up scale it. Now if they want to save money, which really doesn't seem to be the objective. They need to separate out the airframe from everything else. Don't design a military aircraft, design an agile high speed civilian aircraft capable of carrying the final design load, of personnel, munitions and armour.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    you can pretty much make a cartoon go as fast as you want.

    you know what else is pretty fast? the ch-47 chinook. I've seen chinooks outfly blackhawks, cobras, and apaches like they were standing still.

  • Seriously, it looks like a guinea pig with dual rotors. I can't be the only one who sees this.

  • Yeah, I could use one of those too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @02:52PM (#47409137)

    While a simpler and more conservative design, a helicopter like this already exists: The Eurocopter (now Airbus) X3.

    Not yet in production but several functioning machines that already reached speeds of 472 km/h.
    Of course this is a civillian design, not military, and has far less transport capacity, but the technology is working already. This is beyond prototype stage and ramped up for commercial prodcution right now.

    Eurocopter also planned to compete in the FVL program, but since the US would have claimed IP in this case, a civilian production would not have been possible without paying licence fees to the US (despite the US not contributing any development ressources or IP).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @04:40PM (#47410127) Homepage

      While a simpler and more conservative design, a helicopter like this already exists: The Eurocopter (now Airbus) X3.

      Not yet in production but several functioning machines that already reached speeds of 472 km/h.

      Yeah, but we need one that travels in miles per hour.

    • by AC-x (735297)

      It's more like the Sikorsky X2 [wikipedia.org]. The dual rotors are an important feature; With a single rotor as you increase forward speed you lose lift on one side of the rotor as it slower relative airspeed, until it's basically going backwards. Having contra-rotating rotors means that one side will always have blades going "forwards" regardless of airspeed.

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        retreating blade stall is less of any issue on compound helicopters if they include a wing. the wing can push that barrier back further, and even offload the rotor entirely of lift responsibility. even the stub wings on the Cobra and Apache provide a measurable amount of offload. not a whole lot, but some.

        The nice thing about dual-prop compound helicopter is instead of using a tail rotor to coutneract torque, one of the propellers basically takes its place, providing the same counter force (one will provide

  • Looks more like a baby while swimming on its back, extending its flippers in glee. Hopefully the final design will look a little more menacing and bad-A than this ferfy thing.

  • If anyone remembers the last few years of development for the RAH-66 Comanche and how it had to be scrapped due to compartmentalized co-development of the different systems jacking up the cost to astronomical levels for one unit just from inefficiency. It was a great stealth escort weapons platform - shelved and set the US fixed wing aircraft scene back years. I hope this one can cut it in a modern battlespace scenario.

  • redundant aircraft (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jcgam69 (994690) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @03:07PM (#47409269)
    The V-22 Osprey [wikipedia.org] performs a similar role for the Navy/Marine Corps. Why develop a new platform that will cost billions of dollars and many years of research and testing? The V-22 can be adapted to this new role much faster and for a lot less.
    • by Loether (769074)

      Agreed the V-2 Osprey is faster max 316 mph and they would overlap quite a bit. The niche this could possibly fill would be as a replacement for a stealth black-hawk. Hopefully more maneuverable than the osprey in hover mode and much faster than the blackhawk's top horizontal speed.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)

      Why develop a new platform that will cost billions of dollars and many years of research and testing?

      Maybe so it doesn't crash so much?

      • by Xest (935314)

        Because nothing says less crashes like creating something completely new and untested than something that has crashed in the past but had the causes for the crash ironed out?

        Aircraft crash anyway, there was a US harrier crash a month or two back and that aircraft was fighting in the Falklands in 82. If a platform that mature still has the odd issue then what makes you think a brand new untested platform is magically not going to crash?

    • Hopefully this one wont randomly crash and kill everyone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]
    • by felrom (2923513)

      Bell Helicopter is developing a tilt rotor aircraft for this competition: http://youtu.be/1O3Onyas984 [youtu.be]

      If you take the V-22, and remove the Marine Corps' requirements for blade-fold-wing-stow and rotors small enough to launch off of a Marine helicopter ship, you free up a huge amount of design room to increase performance.

    • by stockard (1431131)
      There are 3 other entries in this competition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Vertical_Lift#Competitors [wikipedia.org], two of which are tiltrotors.

      Bell Helicopter's entry into this competition is more of an incremental upgrade to their V-22 tiltrotor technology: http://bellv280.com/ [bellv280.com] The Army also wants something smaller than the V-22 (the V280 will end up being probably 1/3 to 1/2 the size) and it will presumably be correspondingly cheaper per aircraft. (Of course with the way these programs usually turn out, w
    • by dywolf (2673597)

      higher reliability, lower (or at least different) mechanical complexity.
      there are also various operational issues with the V22.

      for one thing, its big. both in size and weight it is MUCH bigger and heavier than the CH46's it's replacing. The result is on board ship they can only carry 6 of them per embarked squadron, as opposed to the normal 8 of the 46's.

      It's much more mechanically complex (engines rotate, the wing and rotors fold for storage), leading to additional maintenance time required.

      due to the 2-ab

  • And it exists too! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by honestmonkey (819408) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @03:07PM (#47409273) Journal
    Not! This is a figment in AVX's collective mind. The real helicopter doesn't move at all except for CGI on a computer monitor. Not to say they couldn't build it but a bit premature to say much about it. "It could reach speeds of a billion light-years per fortnight." Hey, maybe it'll do the Kessel run in 12 parsecs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @03:42PM (#47409633)

    The Kamov series have co-axial rotors. The Ka-52 can already hit 240+mph without any ducted fans, and there is also improved manoeuvrability. Tail rotors just waste energy from the engines.

  • Just because you don't know about something doesn't mean it's new.

  • As if any of us needed any further illustration as to how warped the United States and its priorities have become.

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