After the release of information about the first successful flight test of the promising American convertible plane Bell V-280 "Valor", held in Amarillo (Texas) December 18 2017, a lot of criticism could be met in the Russian and foreign class "convertoplan" as such. Of the main technological shortcomings inherent in this type of rotary-wing machines, the following are indicated: low reliability and maintainability of the engine nacelle rotation mechanism as a whole (in the case of the Osprey MV-22B), or the screw module rotation mechanism with an articulated transmission, driven by fixed helical conical and angular gearboxes (in the case of the V-280 "Valor"); the enormous complexity of control and the unpredictability of the behavior of machines in the transition modes to horizontal or vertical flight in difficult meteorological conditions; as well as the presence of the “vortex ring” phenomenon, where the toroidal principle (along the circumference described by the tips of the blades) results in a critical decrease in lift force as a result of winding up the air flow, which ultimately leads to uncontrollability and car crash. Among the economic problems indicated a significant cost of flight hours of cars, which, for example, for the "Operus" is 80000 $.
Let's start in order. Without a doubt, when comparing Osprey and Valor, one can note that all-turning engine nacelles with Allison T406-AD-400 turbo-prop engines have some reliability due to the apparent absence of moving transmission units that transmit rotation from the HDD shaft to the screw. It really is. Nevertheless, the new design of the fixed power plants of the V-280 tiltrotor “Valor” has incomparably greater advantages over the Ellison ones. Engine nacelles with a T64-GE-419 (serially manufactured by General Electric) are in a horizontal position with helical bevel and angular gearboxes; rotates only the screw group and the hinge transmission. What does this mean?
First, with a screw module operating on an elevation, the greatest impact of negative environmental factors (dust, sand, etc.) is mainly on the unpretentious and high-strength propeller shaft of the articulated transmission, while the gearbox is covered with a filter and sunk into the two-module nacelles. This avoids a quick failure of the transmission as a whole (this feature is clearly seen in the photographic material of The Aviationist for 30 August 2017, where the machine with the registration number N280BH passed the ground vibration test at the Bell Assembly Center in Amarillo: on photos with raised screw blocks can be seen the absence of the main elements of the drive in the open access). Moreover, this nacelle architecture is less vulnerable during the final phase of the search and rescue operation, or the low-altitude landing of marines, when the vehicle is under fire weapons an adversary capable of damaging distant transmission units.
Secondly, the horizontal position of the V-280 “Valor” engine nacelle is distinguished by two more indisputable advantages in front of the Osprey’s one-turn engines. First of all, it is a full-fledged viewing zone of the side hemispheres around the tiltrotor at the moment of being on the surface, as well as the possibility of a full-fledged fire counteraction in these directions from the shooter’s side, covering the landing. But the most important advantage is the repeated reduction of the effect of the “vortex ring” effect, which actively appeared on the circumference of the tips of the MV-22A / B / C “Osprey” blade blades at the moment when the cars entered the vertical landing at a speed of descent around 7 - 8 m /with. It is known that the area of increased pressure under the tiltrotor created on the area swept by the screws was strengthened thanks to the additional reactive thrust from the nozzles of the Allison T406-AD-400 theater, which led to an even greater manifestation of the “vortex ring”. This happened due to the fact that the thrust vector of the nozzle of the theater deflected with the whole gondola in the same direction. As a result, the formed “cushion” of high pressure pushed out a fresh stream of air to the screw circumference, after which it twisted into a toroidal vortex and significantly reduced the lifting force of both screws. In connection with this, not a single plane crash of the Osprey family of tilt rotors occurred.
One of the most significant benefits of the X-VUMX V-3 "Valor" tilt-rotor before the MV-280B "Osprey" is its power ratio in the 22 hp / ton with a maximum take-off weight of 697,5 kg, while the MV-X 13620B with a normal take-off mass reaches only 22 hp / ton. Consequently, the new rotary-winged machine will receive a much higher rate of climb (around 428 m / s)
Even at the moment of the vertical position of the screw modules in the “hovering” mode, the T280-GE-64 TVD nozzles of the V-419 “Valor” continue to create horizontal thrust, due to which the high-pressure cushion under the screw becomes uneven and no “vortex ring” is formed; either happens, but ten times less. This decision can be considered fundamental in the development of the concept of convertoplanes. And it will allow this type of aircraft to come out, but a completely different level, where they will be able to unleash their full technical potential.
As for the comments of observers about the problems with the handling of convertiplanes in various flight modes, including takeoff and landing in difficult meteorological conditions, there is also an insufficient level of awareness. Even far from the newest Osprays, released by Bell Helicopter and Boeing Rotocraft Systems at the beginning of 2000, are equipped with a small-sized digital inertial navigation system (INS) LWINS (“Lightweighter Internal Navigation System”), which, together with a computerized navigation receiver VHF-band AN / ARN-147 (connected to the INS using the multiplex data bus MIL-STD-1553B) and other auxiliary systems, allowed to keep control of the machine under control, even in extremely difficult conditions. Moreover, for fast processing of a combat mission, X / NUMX AN / AYK-2 computers are used immediately.
Consequently, the promising tiltrotor V-280 "Valor" ("Valor"), equipped with an even more advanced inertial navigation system with a more high-performance on-board computer, will cope better with piloting tasks in the most difficult meteorological conditions and at any time of day, taking into account various types of terrain terrain Moreover, the car will be equipped with an electric remote control system with triple redundant channels. By analogy with the MV-22B "Osprey", a radar complex for low-altitude flight in the following terrain mode can be found as part of the aeronautical airborne "Vailor", which will give the car a lot of advantages in overcoming the enemy's single-component ground defense.
Also, some of our commentators can hear the statement that the failure of one of the T64-GE-419 turboprop engines "will cause a complete imbalance of the car in the air with loss of controllability, with all the ensuing consequences." Nevertheless, a serious mistake takes place here. In accordance with the design of the MV-22B transmission, the V-280 "Valor" boasts the presence of a synchronization cardan shaft between the two nacelles that passes through the relief openings in the wing ribs. This is evidenced by the photographs of the assembled glider of the experienced NB280BH board in the Bell Helicopter assembly workshop, taken from the right-hand engine nacelle. In the wing section you can see two openings, one of which can serve for locking the screw module given to the horizontal (plane) position, and the second one is intended for the installation of the synchronization shaft. In the case when one of the engines fails, the second one starts to work with increased power, passing an equal share of torque to the angular reducer of the engine nacelle with an idle engine through the synchronization shaft. Therefore, without additional load, the tiltrotor can land safely on one engine (the main thing is that the gearbox and cardan remain intact).
The section of the surface of the contact profile of the wing with the nacelle (visible holes for fixing the nacelle with a screw module, as well as for the synchronization shaft)
Let us turn to the review of the tactical and technical capabilities of the third generation machine, as well as considering the Valor V-280 as a multifunctional rotary-wing platform, taking into account the experience gained over the years of operation of the Osprey CV-22B (for US MTR) and MV-22B (for KMP USA), as well as helicopters of the UH / MH-60 "Blackhawk" family. To begin with, it is worth noting that the design of the fuselage of the “Vailor” is as unified as possible with the fuselage of the “Black Hawk” helicopter family (semi-monocoque with three-bearing chassis, but retractable type). Nevertheless, unlike the basic versions of the Blackhawk with an all-metal fuselage design, as well as partial application of Kevlar fiberglass dimensions on the cab doors, engine hood and lantern, the V-280 "Valor" received a full-composite fuselage using carbon fiber. This design solves two problems: it significantly reduces the effective scattering surface (EPR), and also reduces the helicopter mass, increasing the power supply and the flight range of the rotary-wing machine. As you already understood, the similarity with the Blackhawk's cockpit, including the capacity of Marines / Special Forces in 14-16, will allow the USMC and USF to adapt the machine to the experience of the personnel as soon as possible.
A reduction in the radar signature of this tiltrotor is also promoted by a composite tail two-fin V-shaped tail with a collapse angle of more than 85 °, which absorbs most of the electromagnetic waves, and some of them reflect into space. The propeller blades for serial samples of the "Vailors" should also be made on the basis of carbon fiber, due to which the expected calculated EPR can only reach 0,7 - 1 square. m, which is very worthy for this type of aircraft. Thanks to these parameters, the range of detection of perspective convertoplanes V-280 by means of surface-based, ground-based and air-based radar systems around 2,5, and even 3 times less than the MV-22B "Osprey". This quality opens up far greater horizons for pilots and redeployed units of the ILC in flight and landing areas of theaters of operations where the enemy’s anti-aircraft component is either partially suppressed (and there are impressive gaps in the form of undemanding areas of airspace in the anti-missile shield) , or the operators of anti-aircraft missile battalions and regiments with their heads immersed in the task of repelling a massive missile strike by hundreds of Tomahawks and JASSM-ER launched from the sides Class "Ohio" submarine ary modifications destroyers "Arleigh Burke", as well as supersonic strategic bombers B-1B «Lancer».
Even more valuable qualities of the V-280 “Valor” convertible, in comparison with the MV-22B, are the possibility of flying around areas with the most dense air defense, as well as landing MP in the deep rear of the enemy. To realize such abilities in the technological arsenal of "Valor" there are very economical and high-torque engines T64-GE-419 with the power of 4750 hp. with specific consumption 0,292 kg / kWh. Despite the fact that their power is only 35% less than that of T406 (AE 1107C-Liberty), the combat range in 2 is 2,2 times as large as that of Osprey (725 km against 1480 - 1550 km). For example, if CV-22B “Osprey” that rose from the territory of Romania are barely able to approach the Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar region in a straight line, where they will be quickly detected and identified by Russian DRLO A-50U aircraft at a distance of more than 450 km due to their huge radar signature, and then successfully destroyed by the C-300B4 ADMS even at the over-horizon due to the use of the new 9X82MB missile systems with active radar seekers, you can observe a complete picture with the V-280 “Valor”.
Considering the hypothetical regional conflict on the Black Sea and Caucasian theaters, it is necessary to take into account that using solid combat radius of 1500 km and low radar visibility, flying from Romanian territory, “Vailora” can easily reach the necessary landing point of the MTR in areas of the North Caucasus that are difficult for radar to view. . To conceal the moment of arrival in the landing zone of the SSO, the V-280 “Valor” pilots can take advantage of the low-altitude flight regime through the mountain ranges in Georgia, while the main part of the route will pass in neutral airspace above the southern part of the Black Sea. And most importantly, in contrast to the Osprey, Vailor in this part of the trajectory absolutely no need to refuel by means of air tankers such as KC-135, KC-10A "Extender" or M330 MRTT, which instantly light up the fact presence of a threat to our A-50U, carrying combat duty over the Republic of Crimea and the Kuban. This is precisely the main tactical and technical advantage of the large range of V-280 carpet trenches over the existing helicopters today. The speed of this convertiplane should be limited to the mark in 560 km / h, which is no worse than that of Osprey.
Based on the characteristics of this convertiplane, it can be argued that the machine is developed not so much for transporting US Marine Corps units to theaters, as for long-range “green beret” raids deep into enemy territory, in the vicinity of one or another strategically important facilities for sabotage and reconnaissance operations , as some Western sources say. Whether the auxiliary power plant (present in the CV / MV-22B in the center-section area) is provided for in the power architecture of the “Vailor” is not yet known; It is on its availability that the specified level of machine survivability in critical situations depends.
It is worth noting that the developer of V-280, a consortium of "Team Valor" sponsored by the US defense department, includes not only divisions of such American companies as Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin and General Electric, but also a division Israeli concern "Israel Aerospace Industry". Obviously, Hel Haavir is still interested in high-speed and multifunctional rotary-wing platforms capable of transferring numerous IDF special units to various hot spots in the Near-Asian region. The AOI’s interest in Osprey converters has emerged as far back as 2009, but for nearly a decade it has repeatedly come under heavy criticism from high-ranking Israeli military officials who have preferred CH-53K “King Stallion” military transport helicopters. It is likely that this was due precisely to the critically dangerous and unresolved problem of the formation of a "vortex ring". The likelihood of this phenomenon in the V-280 "Valor" is an order of magnitude lower due to the new configuration of the theater with horizontal nozzle when the screw is in a vertical position, and therefore the probability of orders from the IDF from the IDF remains very high.
An interesting detail in the design and refinement of the design of the engine nacelle is the reduction in infrared visibility to which the developers are striving. This is not surprising, since most of the air operations of the V-280 tiltrotor "Valor" will take place in the conditions of the possible entry into the enemy's MANPADS area of impact. At the moment, it is difficult to ascertain anything about this, since there is no flat nozzle on the engine nacelle. However, you can pay attention to the presence of 2-nozzle system for the removal of gases from the T64-GE-419 TVD. There is an 2 option: either the developers used an internal second nozzle (on the gearbox compartment) to more efficiently circulate the air flow through the transmission to cool it, or tried to reduce the infrared radiation from the jet of exhaust gases from the adjacent nozzle; but this moment also looks extremely unclear, since to reduce IR radiation, it is usually used to mix exhaust gases with atmospheric air in a special additional contour of the engine nacelle, which can be observed in the construction of the low-profile strategic cruise missile AGM-129A ACM. At the same time, the aforementioned moments describe far from the whole range of possibilities and problems of operating perspective Oscrey convertiplanes as multifunctional platforms.
Model of the shock version of the V-280 "Valor" tiltrotor: on the launch platform, see the M299-type launchers with anti-tank / multipurpose tactical missiles "Hellfire-II / JAGM"
So, starting from 2014, the headquarters of Bell Helicopter announces the advancement of the design not only of the transport assault vehicles in the V-280 version, but also of the shock version of the AV-280. In this regard, the "Vailors" have a whole lot of advantages. The solid volume of the cabin allows you to place inside a decent amount of rocket-bomb weapons, which will not affect the effective reflective surface. Based on the payload mass in 4540 kg, it can be calculated that 4 tactical AGM-158 JASSM-ER tactical cruise missiles of extra long range, up to 30 GBU-53 / B SDB-II (“Small Diametr Bomb II”) can be placed on specialized suspension nodes. ), or up to two dozen prospective tactical JAGM missiles with a noise-resistant three-band homing head, represented by an IR channel, an active millimeter-Ka Ka-band radar channel, and a standard semi-active laser guidance channel.
In the case of JASSM-ER, we get an advanced rotary-wing shock complex, which can suddenly soar into the air from any part of the theater and strike at a depth of about 2500 km. In the case of JAGM, the Waylor is transformed into a machine for direct support of the troops, which will be able to patrol the battlefield for 3 — 4 hours, delivering high-precision strikes on enemy armored vehicles from extremely low altitudes and at 16 — 20 km. But it should be noted that this is possible only if the enemy has outdated military air defense systems, for example, the Tungusska-М1 SCRA, or the Tor-МХNUMX ЗРСК and Оса-АКМ. And even in this case, the 1% success from using the AV-100 shock is not guaranteed, since the JAGM missiles (like the entire Helfair family) have a low flight speed in 280 - 1400 km / h, do not maneuver on the trajectory and differ in increased the time of the dual-mode solid propellant rocket motors. With such features, intercepting JAGM presents no particular difficulties, especially with the use of television-optical guidance aids, which are part of the above complexes. As for the launch of JAGM from the AV-1500 "Valor", here we see the standard pull-out 280x1 PU modules M4 installed on the Apache.
Excellent potential is also seen in the anti-submarine version of the V-280, which can be assigned the index SV-280. If a similar “Osprey” in the SV-22B modification (the production of which was considered by Bell Helicopter and Boeing Rotorcraft Systems) could provide the US Navy AUG with information about the underwater situation only at a distance to 800 — 900 km, taking into account the range of the convertoplan and the detection range of submarines by means of active and passive radio-hydroacoustic buoys, the same figures for the SV-280 can reach 1600 km. At the same time, the maintenance and cost of the flight hour for the 3 roto-wing machine will be approximately 30 — 50% less expensive, and it will be much more difficult to find; feel the difference.
The ability to equip a tiltrotor with a refueling rod in the air according to the “hose-cone” principle, as well as the ability to take off and land on unprepared sections of the earth’s surface, determines the next strategic advantage of Vailor - the ability to deploy squadrons of convertiplanes in those parts of the theater of operations where military runways are airfields are damaged by the fire of the barrel and rocket artillery, as well as by the attacks of strategic cruise missiles. From this it follows that in the long run (after 2025) rotorcraft can be developed based on the V-280 aviation complexes of electronic and optical-electronic reconnaissance, tactical air command posts, repeaters, etc.
At the state resource www.militaryfactory.com you can find a rather interesting overview, in which, besides the already known V-280, the ability to transfer special forces to the rear areas of a potential enemy is indicated: they are expressed in the coverage of the states with the radius of the vehicle. Thus, the range of the advanced convertoplane covers 100% of the territory of the DPRK and 90% of the territory of Afghanistan. But for the transfer of special forces to the remote Taliban enclaves in Afghanistan and sabotage and reconnaissance activities against Pyongyang, the existing Ospreeys with their smaller range, but almost 2 times more deployed personnel, would be enough. This means that Afghanistan and Korea are only a diversion, while the real vision of the US military regarding the use of the V-280 Valor encompasses much more serious and extensive theaters of military operations, where Russia and the PRC are present.