Military Review

Air "Blitzkrieg": rotorcraft of the future in the service of the US Army

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Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant (FLRAA program)



June was marked by another achievement of the Sikorsky / Boeing duo in the development of a new high-speed helicopter SB-1 Defiant. It would seem that just recently (the car completed its very first flight on March 21, 2019), it clumsily hovered above the ground, showing with all its appearance the experimental nature of the development. However, on the ninth of June this year, on the territory of the Sikorsky Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, a car accelerated up to a speed of 205 knots (380 kilometers per hour), setting an absolute speed record for yourself. This is only the beginning of a long and hard road and new achievements.


Recall that the SB-1 Defiant is part of the FLRAA (Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft) program, which, in turn, is generated by the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) concept. The latter is aimed at finding a replacement for almost all US army helicopters.

Its components are as follows:

• JMR-Light, or Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. The program is designed to find a replacement for the light OH-58 Kiowa helicopter.
• JMR-Medium-Light (details and current status unknown).
• JMR-Medium or Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft. The program is designed to find a replacement for the UH-60 Black Hawk.
• JMR-Heavy. The program is designed to find a replacement for the CH-47 Chinook.
• JMR-Ultra. The program is designed to find a car whose capabilities would be comparable with the transport aircraft C-130J Super Hercules and Airbus A400M.

The SB-1 Defiant helicopter is one of the main contenders for victory in the Future Vertical Lift. And one of two possible, if we talk about FLRAA. According to the requirement of the US Army, the machine must transport twelve fully equipped paratroopers with a cruising speed of at least 425 kilometers per hour for a range of at least 420 kilometers.

Defiant is close to meeting the requirements. At the same time, the developers themselves plan that the car will be able to fly at a speed of more than 460 kilometers per hour. The demonstrator is equipped with two Honeywell T55 engines and has a well-recognized appearance. Like the distant ancestor of the helicopter represented by Sikorsky X2, the new device has a coaxial rotor and a pushing screw: by the way, Sikorsky used the same scheme for the light helicopter S-97 Raider.

Bell V-280 Valor (FLRAA Program)


And although the relationship with konvertoplanov among Americans is traditionally not the best (lovers aviation well aware of the technical difficulties and the gigantic price of the V-22 Osprey), Bell does not frighten technical challenges. Recall that its promising tiltrotor Valor made its first flight on December 18, 2017, that is, two years earlier than its competitor in the person of SB-1 Defiant took to the sky.


Not surprisingly, behind the back of the aircraft is already a series of achievements. So, on May 16, 2018, the prototype flew in an airplane mode: during testing, the device reached a speed of 350 kilometers per hour. And in January 2019, the tiltrotor accelerated to a cruising speed of 518 kilometers per hour. In December 2019, Valor flew in a completely autonomous mode: the pilots were in the cockpit, but did not intervene in control. It is assumed that in the future such opportunities will minimize the risk to the crew during especially dangerous flights.

Now it is difficult to predict the victory of one or another participant in the competition. Obviously, each of them has its minuses and pluses. So, Valor will be able to boast more speed, and the choice in favor of SB-1 will reduce technical risks.

Sikorsky Raider-X (FARA program)


The Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, as noted above, is designed to replace the decommissioned OH-58 and complement the AH-64. It cannot be ruled out that in the future the new product will generally replace Apache, but so far the Americans are generally happy with their attack helicopter.


The farthest Sikorsky moved forward in this direction, who on May 22, 2015 lifted the Sikorsky S-97 Raider, built according to a coaxial scheme with a thrust propeller in the rear. First introduced at the autumn exhibition AUSA (Association of the United States Army) 2019 Raider-X - its direct development. In fact, we have before us the “fattened” S-97: the size difference is about 30%. It is estimated that the unit will be able to reach speeds of approximately 380 kilometers per hour using the General Electric T901 engine. In one of the images shown, you can see the Raider-X, which has a built-in gun and carries eight air-to-surface missiles on its internal holders. The location of the crew members side by side makes the machine with OH-58, and shock capabilities bring it closer to Apache.

So far, Raider-X is not in hardware. If Sikorsky does not have serious problems, then the company, according to the terms of the competition, will begin testing the prototype at the end of 2022 and, in case of victory, will organize serial production of the new machine in 2028.

Bell 360 Invictus (FARA Program)


The main challenge for Sikorsky in the framework of FARA is not the innovative Raider-X layout and related technical difficulties, but the direct (and now the only) competitor in the face of the Bell 360 Invictus. It is worth recalling that other competitors (a project from AVX Aircraft and L3 Technologies, the development of Karem and the concept of a combat helicopter from Boeing) dropped out of the competition in March this year.


Invictus is a relatively “conservative" project built around a traditional aerodynamic layout. Also, the machine has a proven tandem crew location for combat helicopters: like the Mi-28 or Apache.

Externally, the Bell 360 Invictus helicopter is similar to the long-closed Comanche program, but conceptually there are differences. The main thing is that a promising machine is not an "ultimate" stealth: its unusual appearance is a consequence of the developer's attempt to provide maximum flight performance at the lowest cost.

And yet, even though the project is based on Bell 525 Relentless technologies, it is a fundamentally new machine. That is, nothing can be excluded: first of all, that the prototype and especially the serial version will not differ from the layout shown earlier last fall.

It is known that the machine will be able to boast an impressive arsenal: in the images presented, the helicopter carries eight air-to-surface missiles on an external sling and four more on internal holders. We can say that in terms of armament it will not concede to the RAH-66 Comanche, and possibly to the AH-64 Apache.

Of the above helicopters, only two will receive a ticket to life: the remaining two, most likely, will sink into oblivion. We also note that the four machines presented above are by no means all projects of high-speed helicopters of the future for the US armed forces, but so far we don’t know anything about others, except for a multi-level concept.
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  1. Mavrikiy
    Mavrikiy 22 June 2020 06: 12
    -2
    Air "Blitzkrieg": rotorcraft of the future in the service of the US Army
    Cars are interesting, how correct time will tell. In terms of the blitzkrieg, my God, how many have already been .... request and will be.
    1. The leader of the Redskins
      The leader of the Redskins 22 June 2020 08: 02
      +2
      I agree, the name is slightly inconsistent. But the devices look and produce revolutionary data ...
      1. Krasnoyarsk
        Krasnoyarsk 22 June 2020 11: 29
        +1
        Quote: Leader of the Redskins
        I agree, the name is slightly inconsistent. But the devices look and produce revolutionary data ...

        Yes, the devices are serious. Some of this will be brought to mind. It would be interesting to learn about our developments. But it’s better to do it without saying than to say and not do it.
        Therefore, I moderate my curiosity. With the hope that they do exist.
        1. Grazdanin
          Grazdanin 22 June 2020 12: 36
          +6
          Quote: Krasnoyarsk
          It would be interesting to learn about our developments.

          Of course, there are some developments of the times of the USSR, some of the analogues presented in the article of helicopters were in metal. But I'm afraid at the current stage of development, Russia will not be able to make such helicopters.
          1. VTOL Helicopter
            VTOL Helicopter 29 June 2020 02: 03
            +1
            Quote: Grazdanin
            But I'm afraid at the current stage of development, Russia will not be able to make such helicopters.

            The answer to this question can be found in the monograph of 1933 with a very topical title “Why we did not have the aviation industry, why we now have it”. Speaking about tsarist Russia, the author of the monograph concludes: “In fact, it looks like she (tsarist Russia - author's note) didn’t really want to build it. At least those leaders of the tsarist aviation, who were to be in charge of this business, did everything in their power to ensure that their aviation was not built. They were more interested in the incomes of the capitalists involved in the aviation industry than in production results. Disinterestedly or disinterestedly, but everything was done to knock out the ground for independent existence from under the feet of Russian aviation ”- it sounds quite relevant in our time. Only if one asks today a similar question, then a similar monograph should be entitled like this: "Why did we have an aviation industry and why do we not have it now."
            https://versia.ru/ms-21-ispolzovanie-chemezovym-i-manturovym-opyta-viktora-xristenko
  2. evgen1221
    evgen1221 22 June 2020 06: 19
    +4
    They made cars because they can, and they will master the tactics of application, as with a UAV it was and will be with them.
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov 22 June 2020 15: 51
      0
      Quote: evgen1221
      and tactics will be mastered

      Tactics have long been there.
      They are generally fans of aeromobile action. And even the striker units are prepared for them.
  3. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 22 June 2020 06: 46
    +2
    Nobody plans to plow the entrenched platoon with NURSs and finish off with a gun?
    1. Grazdanin
      Grazdanin 22 June 2020 09: 19
      +3
      They refused this tactic even in Apaches. Too dangerous for a helicopter and not very effective.
      1. Zaurbek
        Zaurbek 22 June 2020 09: 55
        +2
        Making a purely anti-tank helicopter .... for local wars is also strange (there are no countries that plan to reach the La Manche in a week). In Syria and Afghanistan, in 99% of cases, a rocket is more expensive than an object.
        1. Grazdanin
          Grazdanin 22 June 2020 10: 23
          +1
          While there are programs to replace transport helicopters, they want to increase the speed of troop deployment. Apache is not going to change, it makes no sense. And not the fact that there will be a replacement in the coming decades. Even the replacement of the black hawk is planned by the 30s. Now there are a lot of UAV research programs, where they are waging US wars, they are more relevant.
          1. Lopatov
            Lopatov 22 June 2020 15: 54
            -1
            Quote: Grazdanin
            they want to increase the speed of troop deployment.

            ... to reduce the required outfit of helicopters.
            Apparently, it began to reach that "it will not be enough", and to have an army aviation division in the combined arms division is too much laughing laughing
            1. Grazdanin
              Grazdanin 22 June 2020 16: 21
              +1
              What do you mean?
              I'm talking about the physical speed of helicopters from the current 280 to 420 km / h
              1. Lopatov
                Lopatov 22 June 2020 19: 23
                0
                Quote: Grazdanin
                I'm talking about the physical speed of helicopters from the current 280 to 420 km / h

                The higher the speed of the helicopter, the less they are needed to transfer the same unit to the same distance.
  4. rocket757
    rocket757 22 June 2020 07: 01
    0
    In army technology, everything should be rational .....
  5. gridasov
    gridasov 22 June 2020 07: 09
    -2
    So I want to say that this is the end, there is nowhere else to put the movers.
  6. Cowbra
    Cowbra 22 June 2020 07: 16
    -4
    Author, everything is antiresno. Do you only remember why the block helicopters were different from crocodiles? Well this is interesting. exactly WHERE will they drive such a concept?
  7. Grazdanin
    Grazdanin 22 June 2020 09: 17
    +1
    In modern wars, the concept of front is practically absent, the ability to quickly move troops from one point to another is important. If you look at the same developments in the USA, they are in the "light" class. Abrams is not even noticeable about any developments; light and medium tanks are already in metal. The Marine Corps, in principle, rejects MBT according to the accepted concept.
    1. 5-9
      5-9 22 June 2020 11: 49
      -4
      Yes, yes, yes ... the Canadians in Afghanistan, too, seemed ... the concept, sir ... then the Europeans had to "borrow" tanks
  8. Undecim
    Undecim 22 June 2020 10: 15
    0
    Future Vertical Lift (FVL). The latter is aimed at finding a replacement for almost all US army helicopters.
    Its components are as follows:
    • JMR-Light, or Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. The program is designed to find a replacement for the light OH-58 Kiowa helicopter.
    • JMR-Medium-Light (details and current status unknown).
    • JMR-Medium or Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft. The program is designed to find a replacement for the UH-60 Black Hawk.
    • JMR-Heavy. The program is designed to find a replacement for the CH-47 Chinook.
    • JMR-Ultra. The program is designed to find a car whose capabilities would be comparable with the transport aircraft C-130J Super Hercules and Airbus A400M.

    JMR-Light, JMR-Medium, JMR-Heavy and JMR-Ultra are not part of the Future Vertical Lift program.
    The JMR program is an independent program whose purpose is to develop new technologies for programs such as FVL, FLRAA, FARA, etc.

    As you can see from the specification, the Medium-Light category is absent, because there is nothing surprising about it, there is nothing surprising. Although among the options AVX Aircraft Company Medium-Light was present.
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 22 June 2020 10: 22
      +1

      Options for the AVX Aircraft Company for Future Vertical Lift.
    2. gridasov
      gridasov 22 June 2020 11: 41
      -1
      It is a pity that in Russia there are not enough perspicacious leaders who are not able to understand what tolerance for crazy ideas is. But it’s crazy ideas for everyone, and to the author it’s completely justified the latest technology for controlling air flow using potential and kinetic energy. New movers as a basis changes the whole attitude to flights as a more efficient and safer process.
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 22 June 2020 11: 44
        0
        Sorry, Gridasov, potential and kinetic energy of what?
        1. gridasov
          gridasov 22 June 2020 11: 45
          -1
          Air flow! The conversation is not about diapers.
          1. Undecim
            Undecim 22 June 2020 11: 58
            0
            But what happens is an air stream that has no energy?
            1. gridasov
              gridasov 22 June 2020 12: 29
              -1
              Yes, kinetic energy is used as the energy of mass rejection. However, as a combination of kinetic energy and potential is not used. And it is precisely these qualities that determine both profitability and weight reduction, and ultimately determine flight safety. To put it simply, how we did the physical process right up to the contrary, as it is applied now. Therefore, I am not shy to say about the fundamental novelty of the technical solution.
              1. Undecim
                Undecim 22 June 2020 12: 41
                +3
                Gridasov, stop driving the blizzard. Train your bot so that it does not generate nonsense. Enter the textbook of physics for the 8th grade.
                1. Cowbra
                  Cowbra 23 June 2020 00: 44
                  -1
                  Quote: Undecim
                  Enter the textbook of physics for the 8th grade.

                  Papa didn’t say - where, you’re right to crap. So - introduction. First, to yourself
      2. Grazdanin
        Grazdanin 22 June 2020 12: 08
        0
        Quote: gridasov
        tolerance for crazy ideas.

        What is crazy about these helicopters? All ideas of the beginning / middle of the 20th century. Previously, technology did not allow to go beyond experimental models, now it is possible.
  9. 5-9
    5-9 22 June 2020 11: 46
    -4
    Blitzkrieg was already Osprey reported to implement, no? The truth in life turned out that flying even at the front edge, not to mention the pros, was strictly contraindicated for him (with its survivability and price), therefore, only at the rear ...
  10. gridasov
    gridasov 22 June 2020 12: 33
    -2
    For Grazdanina. No, no! I'm talking about my decisions! On all of these and absolutely all other aircraft, an inefficient method of converting the energy of the air flow was applied. Therefore, frankly, it all has no future. However, the attempts of Americans to be in the forefront very openly speak about their intentions. But without changing the fundamental principle, nothing comes of them.
    1. Grazdanin
      Grazdanin 22 June 2020 13: 03
      +1
      Do you have articles to read? I’m talking about this, on these machines nothing fundamentally new is proposed, bringing to mind the old ideas.
      1. gridasov
        gridasov 22 June 2020 14: 14
        -2
        The theoretical rationale for the operation of a power plant turbine, Capstoun microturbine or any type of aviation turbine does not have the completeness of analysis of the whole process. Therefore, we can talk about the turbine, but the basis of the process analysis is a new mathematical method for analyzing just such complex processes, and we will talk about algorithmically related diverse processes. These are the processes of ionization of the turbine blades and the transformation of the air flow itself from laminar flow to turbulent. Scientists' attempts to create a single mechanism, primarily the continuity of the flow in a turbulent mode, can be reduced to the search for a unified configuration of precisely the blades, since they are in contact with the air flows. And this is an impossible task because for each speed mode and many variables you cannot choose a single process. But! The solution to the problem turns out to be if you control the dominants in changing the potential energy of the air or water flow and the basic nodes of the polarization of the blades and the axis of precession of their rotation. And the problem is solved !!! It is the solution of the agreed mathematically expressed parameters. Therefore, it is possible to raise radically and by orders of magnitude the rotor speed with the working surfaces of the expiration. At the same time, the device works absolutely quietly and this is an indicator of the absence of shock processes. Hence the flow performance and traction characteristics of the engine. Plus, the turbine is two-sided and works like a dipole with a symmetry of processes. That is, the whole analysis technique and the construction of operating principles are completely new. We do not print articles and do not work for the public. Behind all this lies the work of fundamentally new reactors. Since high speeds form a high ionization of the rotor, and against the background of the transformation of flows, for example, liquids, ultrahigh voltages and currents can be obtained.
        1. Undecim
          Undecim 22 June 2020 15: 48
          +1
          We do not print articles and do not work for the public.
          How is this not working for the public? And for whom is your near-technological delirium designed, if not for the public?
        2. Outsider
          Outsider 22 June 2020 23: 46
          0
          - gridasovYou are an indispensable patient of a psychiatrist. In the very near future. Your unscientific nonsense is guaranteed.
          1. voyaka uh
            voyaka uh 23 June 2020 00: 23
            +3
            Gridasov is not a man. This is AI. Therefore, you need to contact the programmers.
            But they will not help much either, because gridasov has long been self-developed and
            lives an independent virtual life.
            1. gridasov
              gridasov 23 June 2020 11: 09
              +1
              Yes, I am AI Form. But behind me are real methods of working with big data embodied in the analysis of physical processes and their implementation through mechanisms and devices. But I don’t pass on to personalities, and among you and the like, there are no people who, first of all, think and reason without relying on personal interests. In general, my task is to think effectively and efficiently, relying on the development and analysis algorithms of a large number of related processes, and not on emotions and personal ego
          2. Rostovchanin
            Rostovchanin 23 June 2020 02: 07
            +1
            Why are you all attacking Gridasov !? He comes from a parallel universe to VO! Regulars of VO are accustomed to listening to "His" fundamental innovations, without him it would be boring on VO. His nickname is a common nickname, as is Meehan. wink
  11. tralflot1832
    tralflot1832 23 June 2020 00: 26
    0
    My question is how they manage with maximum speeds. It will not work like the French with the fastest destroyer, they dispersed them to the maximum speed, but they can’t turn at this speed, the turbine starts to work like a gyroscope. Just straight ahead. Especially the one with the back .Joke.
  12. Petersburg printing house
    Petersburg printing house 23 June 2020 16: 18
    0
    There are interesting prospects for the further development and distribution of convertiplanes, about which there was an article not so long ago. Based on this material it is clear that they are still there. And in general, the promising developments of multi-purpose helicopters look attractive. Let's see what the Americans will come to in the future.
    1. agond
      agond 27 August 2020 13: 38
      0
      They produce exotic schemes of helicopters with rotary engines, with a pushing third propeller, mainly for one purpose, so that we would imitate them and spend money on it,