Military Review

Invictus and Raider X: two competitors among promising combat helicopters for the US Army

32

Did not reach the finish line



For many air lovers, the phrase Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) says little. Meanwhile, this is one of the most important aviation contests of our time. Formally, the new attack helicopter for the US Army should replace the modest "Kiowa" - a light multipurpose reconnaissance aircraft. But in fact, we are talking about the formation of the appearance of a combat helicopter of the future, capable of solving reconnaissance and strike missions at a qualitatively new level. It should be faster and more stealthy than any other attack helicopter, including the AH-64, which FARA will also partially replace.

Only five companies presented their ideas in this regard. At the moment, the appearance of all helicopters as a whole is formulated and presented to the public. Until recently, the list of candidates for the victory looked like this:

- Raider-X from Sikorsky;
- Bell 360 Invictus from Bell Helicopter;
- a helicopter from Boeing;
- helicopter from AVX Aircraft and L3 Technologies;
- AR40 from Karem.

The last project was presented by Boeing. Like supposed the author of the material, he did not get on the short list: now the US Army has announced that it has chosen projects from Sikorsky (Raider-X) and 360 Invictus (Bell Helicopter). As part of the new phase, participants will build flight prototypes: their testing should begin in the first half of fiscal year 2023. Then the military will choose one helicopter, which will begin to be produced in the late 2020s.

Why did the US Army opt for these particular vehicles? In short, their creators proposed the most thoughtful and comprehensive solutions. Sikorsky and Bell have advanced further than others in developing or at least promoting their aircraft.

Raider-x


Recall that Raider-X is nothing more than an improved and approximately 30% increased Sikorsky S-97 Raider helicopter, which first flew into the sky in 2015 and is based on the old experimental X2. In the framework of the autumn exhibition AUSA (Association of the United States Army) 2019, we were first shown the images of the new rotorcraft.


Like its predecessor S-97, the Raider-X has a coaxial rotor and one pusher. This arrangement allows (at least in theory) to reach speeds of more than 380 kilometers per hour, which is unattainable for other military rotary-wing aircraft. The basis of the power plant is the General Electric T901 engine. The crew is located side by side, which makes the helicopter similar to OH-58, but moves away from the AH-64 with a tandem crew location. In one of the images, one can see guided air-to-surface missiles located on internal holders. They also want to equip the car with a gun located in the bow. In general, the creators make the main emphasis on speed and wide functionality, allowing (again, theoretically) to get something in between the Kiowa and the AH-64 Apache.


Some features of the helicopter may become disadvantages. Thus, the machine has an innovative layout that increases risks and increases the final cost. At the same time, the US Army made it clear that it was not going to buy a "golden" helicopter and would take into account the price. Also, the military may be confused by the location scheme, which is not too optimal when it comes to solving strike tasks: a tandem arrangement of crew members that did not limit the review would look like a more thoughtful solution, but this is only the subjective opinion of the author.

Bell xnumx invictus


I would like to call the new Bell helicopter a reincarnation of the Comanche, but this is not entirely true. And although Invictus looks like a RAH-66, it’s not at all an “ultimate” stealth: the creators took into account the negative experience of that project and decided not to repeat the mistakes of the engineers of the 90s. The shape of the fuselage is designed not only to reduce radar visibility, but to improve the flight performance of the machine, which, unlike the conventionally revolutionary Raider-X, is based on the classic layout.


It is known that 360 Invictus technology is based on the technical solutions of the civil Bell 525 Relentless, which has been flying for a long time. Unlike the hero of the chapter itself. The fact is that the Bell 360 Invictus now exists only as a layout - Bell does not have its own prototype, like Sikorsky. But there are spectacular animated videos, on one of which the helicopter “cheerfully” destroys the Russian T-14 and T-15 on the basis of “Almaty”. And on the other, it helps the Allied infantry, beautifully maneuvering among skyscrapers and ordinary houses.

It must be assumed that these are not the only videos that Bell specialists will show us. Alas, they cannot be used to judge the real combat potential of a combat vehicle. Today, it can be more or less confidently asserted that a helicopter will be able to carry up to eight air-to-surface guided missiles on external suspensions, and four more missiles in internal compartments. There is a gun. Two crew members are located one after another.

Obviously, Bell focuses on such important aspects as cost-effectiveness and commitment to proven technical solutions. That is, we are talking about minimal risk with a serious increase in combat potential - at least in comparison with the Kayova.


“The choice of the Bell 360 Invictus to continue with the FARA program is based on our longstanding legacy as an innovator in the creation of highly maneuverable reconnaissance helicopters,” said Mitch Snyder, President and CEO of Bell. “Our team has combined innovative thinking with proven technology to enable the army to meet requirements with minimal risk and invest in an aggressive schedule.”

The Final Battle


Interestingly, Bell and Sikorsky compete in another, no less significant project, the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), which aims to find a replacement for the multi-purpose Black Hawk. One of the main symbols of the US armed forces. Recall that Sikorsky and Boeing are working on the SB-1 Defiant, conceptually similar to the Raider-X and S-97 Raider. But Bell decided to take a chance by proposing the Valor tiltrotor, despite, to put it mildly, the ambiguous experience of the Americans operating another tiltrotor - the V-22 Osprey.


It is difficult to say which helicopter the US Army will ultimately choose: both the Raider-X and the 360 ​​Invictus, as we noted above, have their own advantages and disadvantages. The author is more impressed with Raider-X, although something suggests that the Bell 360 Invictus will nevertheless emerge victorious from this battle.

In turn, Sikorsky, as seen from the outside, has more chances to win the FLRAA contest. Even despite the fact that the V-280 Valor made its first flight in 2017, and today its test program has advanced significantly beyond the SB-1 Defiant test program, which completed its first flight in 2019.
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  1. NEXUS
    NEXUS 30 March 2020 18: 12 New
    0
    I have a persistent feeling that these concepts will not go into series. But the money will be mastered, and after they say, I WASN'T SMAIL
  2. rruvim
    rruvim 30 March 2020 18: 21 New
    0
    I put on Raider-X from Sikorsky! BELL has a problem with factories, and the concept itself is fantastic. Hashka even flies ...
    1. dauria
      dauria 30 March 2020 19: 58 New
      +3
      I put on Raider-X from Sikorsky!

      Note. The speed record of a helicopter in the distant 1986 of 400 km per hour belongs to Lynx, the most ordinary classic helicopter. To take risks and take a coaxial cat in a poke for what? speed gain at best 50 km per hour? Hardly. I bet on the classic Bell.
      1. Lopatov
        Lopatov 30 March 2020 20: 11 New
        +3
        Quote: dauria
        the most ordinary classic helicopter.

        I would not call it "the most ordinary".
        In addition, the solutions for a record car turned out to be so expensive that they were not fully used in serial machines.


        Quote: dauria
        The speed record of a helicopter in the distant 1986 of 400 km per hour belongs to Lynx, the most ordinary classic helicopter.

        S-69, 518 km \ h
        1. dauria
          dauria 30 March 2020 21: 48 New
          +2
          S-69, 518 km \ h


          One turboshaft for propeller and two turbojets for propulsion is a dead end. For fuel, range, mass returns. Then rotorcraft.
          The army does not order a car for a speed record, but for war.
          Sikorsky's scheme is unpromising beyond 500 km per hour. The only question is whether the attack helicopter needs 500 (and they still need to be done, while 415 is unofficial) at the cost of the failure of the other characteristics?
          1. Lopatov
            Lopatov 30 March 2020 22: 00 New
            +1
            Quote: dauria
            Sikorsky's scheme is unpromising beyond 500 km per hour.

            Why?
            On the contrary, it is much more promising than convertiplanes. She has no speed limits

            Quote: dauria
            at the cost of failure of other characteristics?

            What kind?
            At low speeds, it is a full-fledged helicopter.
            1. dauria
              dauria 30 March 2020 23: 19 New
              0
              On the contrary, it is much more promising than convertiplanes.


              A tiltrotor is an ideal transport aircraft. Huge screws with tremendous efficiency give a range. The wing can be made small designed specifically for cruising speed, without bothering with the need for landing speeds. Get great cruising speed.
              But a tiltrotor is an airplane. He will not replace an attack and reconnaissance helicopter. The helicopter has other tasks and a different speed mode. Barrage, low speeds are no less important for him, as is the possibility of a jerk and attack. And the armor, the survivability of the rifleman from the ground, the range of their missiles (launched and turned away) in the first place. Even an extra hundred kilometers per hour, he does not need anything with his combat radius. So this hundred is not yet, and is not expected. 450 is expected without a body kit. And that’s it.
              1. Lopatov
                Lopatov 31 March 2020 09: 09 New
                0
                Quote: dauria
                A tiltrotor is an ideal transport aircraft.

                While it is fully operational. But if not, a guaranteed fall. Neither planning, nor autorotation, death.

                Quote: dauria
                But a tiltrotor is an airplane.

                A tiltrotor is not a plane. Its speed, like that of a helicopter, is limited by the speed of rotation of the wingtips.


                Quote: dauria
                The helicopter has other tasks and a different speed mode. Barrage, low speeds are no less important for him, as is the possibility of a jerk and attack.

                And for systems like Raider-X it's available. But the overclocking of the tiltrotor from the hover position or from low speed is still a little thing, you can hardly call it a "jerk".
                A jerk is needed. Given the presence of controlled weapons by the enemy.
              2. Private-K
                Private-K 31 March 2020 10: 50 New
                +2
                Quote: dauria
                A tiltrotor is an ideal transport aircraft.

                The tiltrotor is interesting only as a highly specialized machine.
                We recall why they did it - for the US KMP. For what purpose? Increase the range of the start of landing, increase the rate of landing (due to speed), increase the air maneuver (where to land), and finally - land from outside the firing range of coastal anti-ship missiles. All this could be done on helicopters, but the tiltrotor provided some speed advantages, and the Americans thought it was more interesting than trying to increase the speed of helicopters. If you wish, you can even raise old ZVO numbers where all this was painted in detail ...
                Today’s helicopters, if they didn’t catch the tiltrotor in speed, are able to somewhat approach its performance.
                At the same time, helicopters are much more maneuverable, able to accelerate more fun, change altitude and speed - a tiltrotor, compared with them - an iron.
                The cost of a tiltrotor is 3-4 times more expensive than a helicopter (although evil tongues speak a wider gap - 5 times). Simple, stupidly expensive. Yes, and much more expensive to operate - again at times. And it requires a higher qualification of aircraft technicians and is generally more difficult to maintain.
                Generally - a tiltrotor is an apparatus for a narrow tactical niche, but even in it it is successfully replaced by new high-speed helicopters; at the same time, in principle, he is not able to replace the helicopter by any criteria.
                The Americans, adopting the Osprey, wanted to make a revolutionary move with a horse to immediately cover everyone like a bull sheep. But they got only a pain in the neck and became dependent on the previously made wrong strategic decision.
        2. The comment was deleted.
        3. Nikolay Ivanov_5
          Nikolay Ivanov_5 30 March 2020 23: 10 New
          0
          Quote: Spade
          Quote: dauria
          The speed record of a helicopter in the distant 1986 of 400 km per hour belongs to Lynx, the most ordinary classic helicopter.

          S-69, 518 km \ h


          The completion of the development of two new American high-speed attack helicopters turned out to be directly related to the accidental disclosure by Russia of secret technologies that were freely transferred to the United States for many years. It is known that the technologies transferred by KB “Kamov” completely disinterestedly and without even going through any stages of coordination.

          “The Russians flew in coaxial helicopters for many years. Surprisingly, they were very open in their technology. They presented technical papers at various meetings, and one of the issues they examined was the spacing between the screws. They developed a spacing criterion that works, ”reports Vertical Magazine.
          Read more at: http://avia.pro/news/rossiya-sluchayno-peredala-ssha-tehnologii-novogo-boevogo-vertolyota
          1. Lopatov
            Lopatov 31 March 2020 09: 22 New
            0
            Quote: Nikolay Ivanov_5
            Russians flew in helicopters built according to the coaxial scheme,


            UH-44 1944


            UH-4 1946
            1. Nikolay Ivanov_5
              Nikolay Ivanov_5 31 March 2020 09: 53 New
              0
              American edition of Vertical Magazine

              ... They presented technical papers at various meetings, and one of the issues they explored was the spacing between the screws. They developed a spacing criterion that works.
    2. bk0010
      bk0010 30 March 2020 20: 25 New
      +1
      Bet? Do you know how they solved the issue of the transition of the ends of the rotor blades to supersonic in the presence of a pushing rotor (because of which such a scheme did not go before)? If so, please share: extremely interesting.
      1. Lopatov
        Lopatov 30 March 2020 20: 32 New
        +3
        Quote: bk0010
        Do you know how they solved the issue of the transition of the ends of the rotor blades to supersonic in the presence of a pushing rotor (because of which such a scheme did not go before)? If so, please share: extremely interesting.

        In no way
        They just don't switch to supersonic
        For the higher the speed, the lower the required rotor speed to create lift.
        This is the most cimus - this is a helicopter only at low speeds. On large it is a gyroplane.
        1. bk0010
          bk0010 30 March 2020 20: 34 New
          0
          Cheaters. Wings then would have done, like ours. Or did they calculate the integrated center section for a helicopter?
          1. Lopatov
            Lopatov 30 March 2020 20: 40 New
            +4
            Quote: bk0010
            Wings then would have done, like ours.

            I would be careful with the expression "like ours" 8))))
            "Cheyenne" AH-56 made its first flight in 1967.

            1. bk0010
              bk0010 30 March 2020 20: 41 New
              -2
              And the Mi-6 - in 1957.
              1. Lopatov
                Lopatov 30 March 2020 20: 55 New
                +3
                Quote: bk0010
                And the Mi-6 - in 1957.

                A XR-1 in 1941
  3. Vladimir SHajkin
    Vladimir SHajkin 30 March 2020 19: 10 New
    0
    We will observe - what will end
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov 30 March 2020 20: 12 New
      -1
      Quote: Shaikin Vladimir
      We will observe - what will end

      And some will continue to whine "where are the drone drone" ....
      Or rebuild?
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 30 March 2020 20: 31 New
        +4
        Here they are already flying. smile
        1. Lopatov
          Lopatov 30 March 2020 20: 34 New
          0
          Let them fly.
          The very fact of the FARA contest indicates that even the intelligence capabilities of Americans UAVs are not completely satisfied.
          1. voyaka uh
            voyaka uh 30 March 2020 20: 39 New
            +5
            Intelligence? fellow Here is a serial reconnaissance
            1. Lopatov
              Lopatov 30 March 2020 20: 41 New
              +2
              Quote: voyaka uh
              Intelligence?

              Have you read the article under which you post?
              1. voyaka uh
                voyaka uh 30 March 2020 20: 44 New
                +1
                Lopatov:
                "The reconnaissance capabilities of the UAV are not completely satisfied with the Americans." ///
                ---
                Do you read your own posts? belay
                1. Lopatov
                  Lopatov 30 March 2020 21: 02 New
                  +1
                  Quote: voyaka uh
                  Do you read your own posts?

                  Конечно.
                  There are a bunch of reconnaissance UAVs. There are no less than a bunch of reconnaissance and shock.

                  And the Americans are announcing a competition for reconnaissance manned helicopter.
                  And not "to replace Kiowa and Kiowa Thieves", as they mistakenly write in the articles.
                  There is nothing to replace, at present in the states of the army aviation brigades they have ALREADY been replaced with "Apaches" and UAVs

                  Means what?
                  Right, "US UAV reconnaissance capabilities are not completely satisfied"
                  What's so complicated?
  4. 501Legion
    501Legion 30 March 2020 20: 13 New
    0
    they also chose the commander and PR and what everyone knew about it. 360 essentially commanche 2.0
  5. qobnvmog
    qobnvmog 30 March 2020 20: 44 New
    -2
    In turn, Sikorsky, as seen from the outside, has more chances to win the FLRAA contest. Even despite the fact that the V-280 Valor made its first flight in 2017, and today its test program has advanced significantly beyond the SB-1 Defiant test program, which completed its first flight in 2019.
    I do not agree with the author. IMHO, V-280 Valor will win regardless of victory in the state. competition. These convertiplanes as soon as (bold if at all) will be rejected by the US Army, form a queue in the half-equator from countries wishing to buy them. I already now see several countries that will tear off a promising tiltrotor with arms and legs, and what the author wrote seems to me an extremely naive point of view. The V-280 Valor is Bell's win-win strategy, regardless of the success of the competition. And Bell knows that.

    Sikorsky, in turn, knows that it will still be possible to rest on their Black Hawk laurels for how long (exactly more than a dozen years of export and upgrade) time. And this allows them to experiment by investing in extreme projects.
  6. Cowbra
    Cowbra 31 March 2020 04: 47 New
    0
    In turn, Sikorsky, as seen from the outside, has more chances to win the FLRAA contest. Even despite the fact that the V-280 Valor made its first flight in 2017, and today its test program has advanced significantly beyond the SB-1 Defiant test program, which completed its first flight in 2019.
    ILCs cut funding, they even cut their own dispute. Hence the conclusions:
    a) the new convertiplane has illusive chances
    b) in general, the option shines with the total reform of the US Armed Forces - especially against the background of their enchanting losses by the wild and unsupported Kurds, losing in Syria and getting hit on the teeth from Iran. After which they could only wipe themselves
  7. Warrior MorePhoto
    Warrior MorePhoto 31 March 2020 06: 37 New
    0
    Quote: dauria
    I put on Raider-X from Sikorsky!

    Note. The speed record of a helicopter in the distant 1986 of 400 km per hour belongs to Lynx, the most ordinary classic helicopter. To take risks and take a coaxial cat in a poke for what? speed gain at best 50 km per hour? Hardly. I bet on the classic Bell.


    Small, maneuverable, well-armed, it will perfectly fulfill the role of reconnaissance attack helicopter (tandem arrangement as a small plus for reconnaissance-strike functions), in general, this task is initially set.
    I bet on Bell.
  8. CBR600
    CBR600 19 August 2020 10: 43 New
    0
    It is strange that the article did not touch upon our projects. And we've all seen the sketches. For KA-52
    Ka-92


    What is there is unknown.
    _Wiki:
    Ka-50. The choice of the coaxial scheme was determined by the higher thrust-to-weight ratio of the machine, due to the absence of power loss of the power plant to drive the tail rotor (an advantage of about 10-15% of thrust) [6], which in turn provides a high rate of climb and a higher static ceiling.
    __That's all, and there is nothing to chew on. This is no longer a perspective into reality.
    ___ in May 1981, the first flight prototype was built (side number 010), which made its first flight under the control of test pilot N.P. Bezdetnov on June 17, 1982.
    So ... Since then, Kamovtsy have not received a promising engine for the KA-52. I will not dig the name.
    Ka-92 flying laboratory. Pay attention to the working volume.
  9. CBR600
    CBR600 19 August 2020 10: 49 New
    0
    ... It would seem, put on the wing-tanks and you can add a turbojet engine.
    It's a pity the comment here was deleted, I wrote about the Ka-92 and Ka-50 that he was 40 years old (since 1981).