S97 Raider and JMR/FVL program News + Videos


Jura

General
Jan 27, 2019
noted
Bell V-280 Valor reaches 280 knots true airspeed
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Bell's prototype tiltrotor keeps pulling ahead of rivals -- but the race to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk is far from over.
Bell’s prototype
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keeps hitting new milestones as it moves into its
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. Just ahead of the big annual
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(Quad-A) conference here in Nashville, Bell VP Keith Flail told me, they hit a hat trick: “300 – – 200 — 100.”

The aircraft has exceeded 300 knots true airspeed — over 345 miles per hour. That’s 55 percent faster than the needle-in-the-red “never exceed speed” (
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or 222 mph) of the UH-60L Black Hawk that it’s designed to replace. Now, the prototype is reaching these speeds in short flights without carrying full loads. But 300 knots is already well above not only the Army’s objective for sustained cruise speed (280 knots, the number for which V-280 is named), but also
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(295 knots), so those lower speeds should be doable in a real mission.

V-280’s big twin rotors have also turned for over 200 hours, half in ground test and half in flight — which brings us to the final figure, 100 hours of flight test. That last figure is the Bell aircraft’s big advantage over its main rival for the
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(FLRAA) contract, the
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, which just started flight tests last month.

Arguably, Defiant’s a more innovative design — it uses a pusher propeller (for high speed flight) instead of a tail rotor — but that’s also been its problem. Scaling up Sikorsky’s
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technology from the award-winning X2 test aircraft to the
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light scout to the SB>1 midsize transport has proven tricky, particularly manufacturing the long, ultra-rigid rotor blades required for high speed. If Defiant works as advertised, however, it should be
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at low speeds and low altitude, something Army aviators prize as they land assault troops or
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under fire.

To compete, Bell is pointedly putting V-280 through its own maneuverability tests.

There’s been “a lot of focus on low-speed agility,” Flail told me. The aircraft has already demonstrated the highest category of handling (level one) in two dimensions, pitch and roll, and is a few tests away from doing so in the third, yaw, as well.

The aircraft’s also tested flying with open doors — also critical to getting troops in or out ASAP — and even done some preparation for fast-roping. “We tossed the fast rope out of the aircraft to make sure we got the response we expected,” Flail told me, and, as expected, the aircraft’s wings largely shielded the rope from the turbulent downwash of the big rotors. (Downwash was a big issue with the earlier and larger V-22 tiltrotor, but Marines manage to fast-rope out of it).

“We didn’t put a guy down the rope yet,” Flail said. That may not happen in the current test program. But, Flail said: “I’d volunteer to do it.”

As important and innovative as the aerodynamics of the V-280 are, however, the electronics are going to be equally crucial — especially since the Army wants it to be able to
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in at least some missions. Bell plans an initial autonomy test by the end of this year. “There’ll be a safety pilot on board but it will take off, fly a route, and land autonomously,” Flail said, without input from the human.

Bell and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin are also working on the aircraft’s
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. That’s a set of standardized interfaces meant to allow the Army to plug and play new hardware and software from different vendors as it desires, rather than having to either stick with the original manufacturer for all upgrades (aka vendor lock) or laboriously and awkwardly kludge together incompatible systems from multiple companies. Creating a Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA) for all future Army aircraft, not just the Black Hawk replacement, is a major priority for the service’s
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program.

The V-280’s open architecture is derived from one Lockheed developed for the C-130 turboprop — a very different aircraft, which shows how versatile this kind of system can be. It already meets the
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(FACE) consortium standard endorsed by the Army, Flail told me; Navy and Air Force standards are similar but not identical.

The Army worked with the Marine Corps and Special Operations Command to put out a formal
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(RFI) on what industry could do, to which Bell submitted its answers last week. Those answers will shape the Request For Proposals (RFP) that officially kicks off the competition — although the first round will be multiple awards for designs, with an actual fly-off between competing aircraft coming later. That gives the
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and other aviation innovators like
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a chance to catch up.
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Gloire_bb

Junior Member
Registered Member

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(
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)--The AVX Aircraft Company and L3 Technologies (NYSE:LLL) announced today their innovative compound coaxial helicopter (CCH) design, which is competing for Phase 1 of the U.S. Army Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA)-Competitive Prototype (CP) program competition.
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More information at thedrive.com
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Boring video:
 

Jura

General
noted
Bell V-280 flies with system that can see through aircraft
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Bell’s experimental
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built for a U.S. Army technology demonstration, has flown for the first time with an integrated system that provides the pilots and aircrew a 360-degree view through the skin of the aircraft.

At the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit, Lockheed Martin displayed footage collected from its Pilotage Distributed Aperture System’s first flight over central Texas on the V-280.

PDAS “is the first fully integrated tactical distributed aperture system in the history of vertical lift,” Rita Flaherty, Lockheed Martin vice president of strategy and business development within its Missiles and Fire Control business, said at the summit.

The company has a long line of firsts when it comes to multifunctional sensor systems, she said, to include developing and fielding the first electro-optical targeting system for rotary-wing aircraft — which has been on the AH-64 since its inception. That system is a combination of a targeting sensor, an electro-optical day sensor and a pilotage capability, which are all fused with a fire control radar.

“But in the next generation of vertical lift, we turned our attention to a multifunctional, situational-awareness pilotage threat-warning capability suite to develop and bring forward for future vertical lift,” Flaherty said.

Lockheed teamed up with Bell in 2013 to integrate the system into the V-280, prior to Lockheed’s acquisition of Sikorsky in 2015, which is working with Boeing on a
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— the SB-1 Defiant.

V-280′s
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was in December 2017.

The effort, so far, has been entirely funded by Lockheed.

The company developed the technology, taking it from concept to development to integration to flight demonstrations in a matter of five years.

The solution consists of six individual sensor systems integrated into the V-280 aircraft. Two sensors are located in the front, two in the back, one on the top and one on the bottom of the aircraft. The sensors each weigh less than 10 pounds.

The sensors are stitched together through an open-architecture processor using algorithms to create “a full 360 hemispherical situational-awareness, pilotage, missile-warning capability,” Flaherty said.

The view of the outside of the aircraft is collected and can be processed onto a screen or display. At AAAA, Lockheed used a pair of inexpensive goggles ordered from Amazon, but anything from a helmet-mounted display to a tablet could be used to see what the sensors see.

The system is designed so that a soldier in the back of the aircraft using a tablet could look in a completely different place or direction as the pilot, for instance.

The system would also use imagery that is normally discarded, and rather layer that information over a database to create actionable intelligence regarding flight paths, Flaherty noted as an example.

The company also views PDAS as a mission-planning tool, receiving real-time actionable intelligence. For instance, a squad in the back of a helicopter might want to know about last-minute changes or have an immediate understanding of where they are relative to the objective, or what is in the landing zone. PDAS would help them see everything in real time as they land, according to Flaherty.

PDAS isn’t just designed for the V-280, Flaherty noted: “We are platform agnostic, and it’s also backwards compatible to the current fleet.”

The Army is planning to demonstrate PDAS in a UH-60 Mike-model Black Hawk helicopter for a “special customer” in the late spring/early summer time frame next year, Flaherty said.

Lockheed performed previous testing of the PDAS system on a Black Hawk in the U.S. Army’s night vision lab, but that effort was focused on safety of flight qualifications, according to Flaherty.

Because of Lockheed’s development of the capability in fixed-wing aircraft, the technology is solidly at a technology readiness level of nine and could be ready to roll into current or future capability quickly, she said. That readiness level is the highest of its kind, and serves as an official certification.

More capability could easily be integrated into the system due to a powerful processor, Flaherty said, and because it is compliant with both current and future open architecture standards.

Particularly, it will be able to plug into the Army’s emerging Modular Open Systems Architecture capability that will serve as a backbone for missions systems to easily plug into future vertical lift aircraft.

Over the coming months, the company will test additional algorithms during V-280 flight, such as a ground moving target indicator and detecting air-to-air targets that improve upon Lockheed’s missile warning pedigree, Flaherty said.
 

Jura

General
Monday at 9:14 PM
Jan 27, 2019
while now
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Bell's prototype tiltrotor keeps pulling ahead of rivals -- but the race to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk is far from over.
it's
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and
V-280 Valor May Fly Autonomously This Year
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Bell anticipates its V-280 Valor will fly autonomously by the end of the calendar year and is in negotiations with the U.S. Army for more funding to continue envelope expansion, trades and sensitivity analysis, a company executive says.

The Army would like for Bell to conduct more operational maneuvers, such as going to an alternate landing zone at a high rate of speed, Keith Flail, vice president of advanced tiltrotor systems at Bell, told Aerospace DAILY here April 16 at the Quad-A Army aviation conference.

The Army issued a request for proposals to Bell for the potential work, and Flail said the conversation is ongoing.

Separately, Flail’s team is preparing for the V-280’s first autonomous flight. “We’ll have a safety pilot onboard but basically take off on its own, fly around, come back and land on its own,” he said.

The V-280 has surpassed 300 kt. of airspeed, 200 operational rotor-turn hours, both unrestrained and restrained, and 100 flight hours of envelope expansion to date, Flail said.

The Valor is one of two aircraft built for the Joint Multi Role program, which is the precursor to the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). The Army has released a request for information for the effort and gave vendors one week to respond.

“The team rallied, we put the response together—there was the Army piece, the
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piece, and the [U.S.] Special Operations Command piece,” Flail said. “Fortunately, over the last year we’ve been talking to all three of them about their needs and their unique requirements to make sure we understand what they’re looking for and how we would incorporate the unique requirements into the aircraft while still maximizing commonality between the different variants.”

Flail is confident his team can “absolutely” meet the Army’s $43 million cost target.

FLRAA is intended to replace the Army’s
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Black Hawk and the Marine Corps’ Bell
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Venom.
 

anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member
It took less than five seconds for Sikorsky’s prototype helicopter to break in many different ways on a Florida runway, a new federal report shows.

Earlier, the aircraft manufacturer had described the August 2017 crash as a
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. Sikorsky hopes the
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helicopter, the only one of its kind capable of flying at the time of the crash, could be be the prototype for the U.S. Army’s next scout helicopter. The company also hopes a sister helicopter built with similar technologies could replace the popular Black Hawk model.

The company has not repaired the crashed helicopter but fixed the software that caused the crash to happen, and verified the problem did not exist in other types of aircraft, Sikorsky spokeswoman Melissa Chadwick told The Palm Beach Post on Monday.
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Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
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"Newsflash!", every FBW system has had control anomalies in development, take a good look at the Osprey since we are dealing with rotorcraft, complex rotorcraft are a bag of cats, especially when you begin to work off the rough edges of the FCS, sadly the Raider encountered a catastrophic PIO...that PIO was directly caused by the Flight Control System programming anomaly.....

I will guarantee that the tilt rotor is far more complex than in that regard than the raider, which is a fairly simple contra-rotating set of main rotors and a pusher prop, simple in comparison to the tilt-rotor.. and far more maneuverable in close confines....
 

anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member
"I will guarantee that the tilt rotor is far more complex than in that regard than the raider, which is a fairly simple contra-rotating set of main rotors and a pusher prop, simple in comparison to the tilt-rotor.. and far more maneuverable in close confines....
Boeing has admitted they had serious problems with the transmission on the Defiant. They still have not used the pusher prop, iirc, with the defiant.

And a pusher prop and dual blades won't be as fast or have as long of legs as a tilt rotor.

IFF Boeing and Sikorsky pitched a raider deriv for FARA, they'll probably win. I sincerely doubt the Defiant will win FLRAA though. The Defiant is DEFINITELY not winning the Marine segment of that purchase.
 

anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member
Rudder also touched on the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program, noting that the Marine Corps would prefer as its H-1 helicopter replacement a tiltrotor aircraft that could easily pair with the MV-22B Osprey.

“We need something that can keep up with the V-22,” he said. “…Our sense is that a tiltrotor concept, we’re really interested in that speed-range capability.”
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