Military Review

Bell Textron HSVTOL project. Technologies for the distant future tiltrotor


Three variants of convertiplanes on the HSVTOL platform

American company Bell Textron Inc. has extensive experience in the field of vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Right now, it is being used in the development of a new concept project for a tiltrotor family with a number of characteristic features. The other day, the developer company first showed the appearance of such a family and revealed its features.

New project

Currently, as part of the Pentagon's programs, Bell Textron is creating two promising tiltrotors with different capabilities - the V-280 Valor and the V-247 Vigilant. In addition, research is being carried out, necessary for the further development of the direction and the development of the following projects.

In 2017-2020 Bell-Textron has patented several tiltrotor schemes with various features. Various versions of the aerodynamic appearance, several schemes of the power plant and the carrying system are proposed. In particular, a tiltrotor with propeller blades folding in flight, a hybrid gas turbine-electric power plant, etc. have been developed.

In April 2021, the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) issued an order to the company to develop concepts for a military tiltrotor. The cost of such work was estimated at 950 thousand dollars. It was reported that the goal of the project is to create a promising high-speed vertical take-off and landing aircraft (High-Speed ​​Vertical Take-Off and Landing, HSVTOL).

The new research project is being carried out for the benefit of several entities. Its practical results may be of interest to the Air Force, ILC, Navy and Special Operations Forces. They require high-speed vertical take-off aircraft to effectively solve some problems, and for this reason several new programs have been launched, such as FVL and HSVTOL.

On August 2, the contractor company for the first time disclosed information on the new project. The press release contained the main tasks of the current work and plans for the further development of the project. In addition, they published a computer image of three products of the promising HSVTOL family at once.

Carrying system of the tiltrotor, described in the patent US20190248483A1 from 2018.

Goals and objectives

The main goal of the HSVTOL project from Bell Textron is to find and test solutions for the subsequent creation of real aircraft of different classes and for different purposes. By scaling the main ideas and technologies, it is necessary to ensure the development and construction of aircraft with a take-off weight of 4 thousand pounds (1,8 tons) to 100 thousand pounds (45,4 tons).

The HSVTOL device must be capable of vertical take-off and landing, hovering, etc. and show high takeoff and landing characteristics. The longest possible continuous hovering should be ensured. The downdraft flow in this mode should be minimal to exclude negative phenomena. The tiltrotor must be capable of level flight at a speed of at least 400 knots (740 km / h).

It is planned to create manned and unmanned aerial vehicles based on key technologies and solutions. Such equipment will be able to solve a wide range of transport, combat and auxiliary tasks. However, the army has not yet announced its plans for the creation and implementation of aircraft with such capabilities.

Key ideas

Bell-Textron revealed the possible appearance of three aircraft of the HSVTOL line at once. They have some common features that indicate the application of common solutions. At the same time, there are significant differences associated with different purposes and goals of specific projects.

The shown tiltroplanes are "built" according to the normal scheme with a spindle-shaped fuselage, straight wing and two-fin tail. At the ends of the wing are engine nacelles used for vertical takeoff / landing and flight at low speeds and transient conditions. The devices are shown in high-speed flight mode: the propellers are stopped, and their blades are folded along the nacelles.

The type of power plant has not been specified, but new technologies have been reported. It can be seen that the aircraft have air intakes of different locations, which indicates the use of turboshaft or turbojet engines. At the same time, engine nacelles do not have nozzles.

Bell V-280 Valor - already flying tiltrotor for FVL

The HSVTOL concept probably uses ideas previously described in one of Bell-Textron's patents. Then it was proposed to equip a tiltrotor with a turbojet engine connected to a generator, and place electric motors in the nacelles on the wing.

A common part of different projects will be modern digital control systems that can take on some tasks and relieve the pilots. In addition, due to this, the groundwork for the creation of unmanned vehicles will appear.

Such an aircraft will perform takeoff, transition to level flight and initial acceleration using rotors with electric motors - like "traditional" convertiplanes. After gaining the required speed with obtaining the required lift from the wing, HSVTOL will be able to turn off the main engines and fold the blades, and the thrust will be created by the turbojet engine.

In fact, the HSVTOL project is combining several promising technologies, which is expected to provide an advantageous performance ratio. Thus, rotary engine nacelles with rotary propellers will give vertical take-off and landing, a jet engine will accelerate the car to high speed, a hybrid power plant will increase energy efficiency, and control automation will simplify the work of pilots and allow the creation of unmanned modifications.

However, almost all of these technologies are not mature and need further development. It is necessary to create bench and prototypes for testing and debugging of various kinds, providing for independent and joint testing of units.

Unified designs

The published image shows the fundamental possibility of creating a heavy transport tiltrotor. Such an aircraft retains its normal aerodynamic design, but the air intake had to be moved to the upper surface of the fuselage. A large cargo compartment with aft loading is also provided. The estimated tactical and technical characteristics of the vehicle are unknown.

Bell V-247 unmanned aerial vehicle in development

The second aircraft shown is smaller and has an unclear purpose. It has a cargo-passenger cabin with side entry and side air intakes. The third variant of HSVTOL is even smaller and outwardly similar to the previous one. However, he does not have a flashlight, which speaks of the unmanned nature of the development. What payload such a UAV can carry is unknown.

It is possible that the HSVTOL program will not be limited to the three shown converters. At least at a theoretical level, other options for technology can be worked out on the basis of unified solutions. The actual size of the family and the number of projects will depend on the results of the current work and on the wishes of the customer.

Future technologies

In recent years, the US Armed Forces have paid great attention to the problem of aircraft that combine high takeoff and landing and speed characteristics. Various structures of the army need aircraft that do not need large take-off and landing sites, but are capable of transporting one or another cargo at high speed over a long distance.

Several projects of this kind are already being developed as part of the large FVL program, with an eye to production and real application. A number of prototypes have already been brought to testing and are successfully demonstrating high performance characteristics. In a few years, such equipment will have to get into the troops, where it will begin to replace the existing helicopters.

All these projects are based on modern technologies and components, which determines their capabilities and prospects. The new HSVTOL project, in contrast to them, provides for the search and use of completely new solutions, which have not yet been used in aviation... Its actual result will be recommendations for the further development of the direction of high-speed convertiplanes.

Project Completion Date Bell Textron Inc. have not been specified yet. The search and study of fundamentally new technologies and technical solutions will take several years. Then a prototype may appear, which will have to show the potential of the new concept. And only after that we should expect orders for the development of real equipment for use in the armed forces and other structures. Time will tell whether Bell-Textron's ideas will succeed in reaching this stage.
Photos used:
Bell Textron Inc.

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  1. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 4 August 2021 05: 29
    Not much time will pass and the aircraft from the film about the distant future

    Will become an everyday reality ...
    We live in an interesting time!
  2. Nikolay R-PM
    Nikolay R-PM 4 August 2021 06: 15
    In principle, folding the blades allows one of the contradictions to be excluded from the development process, namely, the selection of the optimal propeller diameter, which provides acceptable characteristics for vertical and horizontal flight, and to design it only for ascent. On the other hand: what proportion of the mass of an empty tiltrotor will be accounted for by electric motors powerful enough to provide vertical take-off and ascent to altitude, where the influence of the earth is already absent? Is this proportion comparable to the weight of a conventional manual transmission?
    The development of electric drives for non-cruise propulsion systems is an actively explored area of ​​helicopter construction, and certain successes in this direction have already been achieved, but it is still a long time before implementation.
    In my opinion, at this stage of technological development, the project of such a device is difficult to implement, the patent was issued in order to stake out the idea, and then butt with inveterate competitors if they offer something similar (after all, Leonardo is slowly but surely approaching aw609 certification). Patent law is a patent law.
    1. Azimuth
      Azimuth 4 August 2021 09: 41
      Yes, here the tank is not small in size for any aircraft hovering is necessary, this is the mass, immediately a decrease in the flight range, the complication of the design. No way without Gravitzappa!
  3. vovochkarzhevsky
    vovochkarzhevsky 4 August 2021 11: 13
    Guys, don't fantasize. Convertoplanes are a dead-end branch of aviation. And although modern technologies make it possible to build flying prototypes, the question - what is the price for speed - remains open.
    In helicopter mode, tiltrotors have a monstrous power requirement.
    Take the same Bell V-22 Osprey, the load is comparable to the Mi-38, but the engines are twice as powerful. Accordingly, the appetite of these. Therefore, this pepelats carries the maximum declared load only over very short distances. Where the increase in speed of 125 km / h is not so noticeable.
    This is if you do not mention the complexity of the design, control and the complete inability to continue flight in the event of failure of the control system.
    1. ProkletyiPirat
      ProkletyiPirat 4 August 2021 17: 23
      Quote: vovochkarzhevsky
      Guys, don't fantasize. Convertoplanes are a dead-end branch of aviation. And although modern technologies make it possible to build flying prototypes, the question - what is the price for speed - remains open.

      you just either did not bring them to a single common denominator, or you don’t know how to do it, or maybe you haven’t heard about ordinary fractions at all.

      So, for example, when reducing to a common denominator in the form "Ensure the completion of the task in T-time (1h <T <5h), on the territory of A * Akm (A> 1000 km), by forces of N-units of aircraft, N-units of special units and X-units of bases (airfields)" you will need at least FOUR TIMES LESS units, aircraft and bases. To bring laziness to money and it will not work, because the cost of identical airfields to hell can’t be calculated, but there the difference in amounts is guaranteed to be even greater.
      1. vovochkarzhevsky
        vovochkarzhevsky 4 August 2021 17: 46
        Well? How often can there be tasks for which you need to send a tiltrotor over 1000 km, and even with a refueling aircraft at the head? Otherwise, no payload can be taken.
        And even though you know that where an ordinary helicopter sits, this thing will not sit, too strong flows from the propellers.
        And what will you do if the speed of 500 is not enough and 1000 is needed?
        Maybe you still need to better plan tasks, and not every wunderwaffe demand that you close your jambs?
        As for what I can do or not, I inform you that I have VUS 061800. And what is yours? hi
        1. ProkletyiPirat
          ProkletyiPirat 4 August 2021 19: 31
          Quote: vovochkarzhevsky
          Well? ... Maybe you still need to better plan tasks ...

          what are you saying "well," Take a map, ruler, compasses, and plan the placement of aircraft, MTR and their bases. In a simplified basis, get either one (envelope) or four (vert) area-circle-base, then you can iteratively / recursively / apromaxially refine the final result by adding base supply routes, terrain relief, types of opponents, etc.

          This calculation is more than enough to understand that your phrase: "Convertoplanes are a dead-end branch of aviation." is an outright populist nonsense unworthy of being pronounced by a pilot (VUS 061800). hi
          1. vovochkarzhevsky
            vovochkarzhevsky 5 August 2021 10: 34
            Q.E.D. You are an ordinary sofa strategist far from aviation. You were ashamed to name your VUS.
            For the same map will tell you where it is better to use the helicopter, by means of the jump airfield, and where the transport aircraft plus the landing. And where is the set of measures.
            But in any case, this is many times better than a tiltrotor. Which is extremely difficult both in design, in operation and in piloting.
            In addition, it is so demanding of landing sites that all of its helicopter meaning is lost.
            1. ProkletyiPirat
              ProkletyiPirat 5 August 2021 15: 00
              thank you, neighing heartily, good
              how I see this conversation
              -) conscripts come to the shooting range, take "AK" and shoot, smear like no one knows who, and at the end they say "AK is bad, it is not needed"
              -) then the "special forces" come, take the same "AK" and shoot, smear it like no one knows who, and at the end they say "AK is bad, and in general it is dangerous to shoot from it (they show a wound from the shooting), these machines of yours are a dead end branch of the rifleman! "
              -) then I come, nirazu not a military man, and I see that the "AK": the front sight is overcooked; the pillar was cut down; the trunk is bent; and the butt is smashed at an acute angle. And then I am indignant that they say, "yes, what does this have to do with the whole type of equipment in general, and a specific, and, moreover, a broken (crooked-working) sample of equipment" and I suggest that the "spetsnaz" "bring everything to a common denominator" and stop " carry nonsense ". To which he begins to throw me a presentation in the style of "I'm the boss, you're a fool" and measure up with pipis in the form of barks and VUSov. In general, "mega-arguing" your arguments.
              In general, another confirmation that w ... that is not age, but a state of mind more precisely that MIND and EDUCATION are two different things.
              1. vovochkarzhevsky
                vovochkarzhevsky 5 August 2021 17: 40
                Namely, one of the indicators of a lack of mind is when they do not have a specialized education climb into the discussion.
                And the problem of convertiplanes is not at all that "the front sight is overcooked; the rear sight is cut down; the barrel is bent; and the butt is broken at an acute angle."
                The aerodynamics of hybrid schemes is much more complicated and imposes mutually exclusive requirements on the aircraft of such schemes. If you want to increase the speed, then you sacrifice the carrying capacity and safety. And if the carrying capacity can somehow be raised by raising the power of the engines, then there is no way with safety at all.
                A spacious example, the unforgettable Mi-8T has a load of 4 kg per hp of power. For "smallpox" this indicator is only 1,9.
                As for the measurement of VUS, I remind you that it was you here who puffed me up to teach me how to work with the map and the CSI of the flight. So only otvetka, and the fact that you have nothing to argue, except for the flies, your problems.
  4. Aleksandr97
    Aleksandr97 4 August 2021 12: 00
    "Laurels" forever from the future V-22 Osprey - haunt ...
    The new version will be an order of magnitude more difficult and it is doubtful which is better!
    "Flying Shame" under this name in the magazine "Time" published an article about this miracle weapon. In it, Pulitzer Prize-winning military columnist Mark Thompson noted:
    V-22 Osprey - battles for his future on Capitol Hill; technical specifications controversial at best; the Marines' long adventure in trying to get what they need - demonstrates how Washington works (or rather doesn't). She exposes the compromises required when narrow interests clash with common sense. This is a story that shows how the system fails in its most important task, placing unnecessary danger to those who must protect us.
    1. onstar9
      onstar9 6 August 2021 05: 00
      Quote: Alexander97
      "Flying Shame" under this name in the magazine "Time" published an article about this miracle weapon. In it, Pulitzer Prize-winning military columnist Mark Thompson noted:

      Well, apparently the "Pulitzer Prize member" (awarded for writing tearful novels) is better versed in military affairs than the American military. I also don't like helicopters, for example. Their roar can be heard from twenty kilometers away (and the dead will be awakened), and what kind of danger they pose to someone, as a "hidden force" during hostilities, I still do not fully understand. And it costs nothing to shoot down this low-flying slug. It seems to me. But since the military appreciates him so much, then there is something in him. So it is here. Convertoplanes are highly valued by the military. They are expensive, it is clear "you will not buy yourself", but the sense from them is necessary, I think there is ...
  5. sen
    sen 4 August 2021 14: 00
    Bell Textron Inc Concept Image
    1. PROXOR
      PROXOR 5 August 2021 11: 28

  6. gridasov
    gridasov 4 August 2021 14: 48
    First of all, it is worth talking about the process on the propeller blades in order to understand that it has little future. And the fact that they are playing with him now, so let them amuse themselves.
    1. vovochkarzhevsky
      vovochkarzhevsky 4 August 2021 17: 14
      It's no use, buddy. Most of the local "gurus" drowning for tiltrotors are based on argumentation - and I like it.
      You can try to explain to them as much as you like about the required power of flight, oblique blowing of the propeller, etc. Yes
      Although there is such a thing, many individuals of the originally male sex have become obsessed lately. In the sense of the way of thinking. Just now in Zen I tried to explain to one why, when designing aircraft, designers only trust external painting and then with reservations. As for the layout and external forms, and the cannon shot will not be allowed. Offended. laughing
      1. gridasov
        gridasov 4 August 2021 19: 23
        I completely agree with you that first there should be a union of like-minded people with a real view of processes and things. Smart people in a team unite and
        from free thought they create.
  7. Puskarinkis
    Puskarinkis 4 August 2021 17: 44
    Aircraft, such as tiltrotors, are interesting and in demand not only by the military. Their schemes and technical solutions are varied, but there is one common drawback. The issue of reliability / safety in case of failure of one of the engines has not been resolved. This issue is not covered in the article ....
    1. vovochkarzhevsky
      vovochkarzhevsky 4 August 2021 18: 06
      In addition to safety, there is an even bigger problem, the faster the propellers, the worse their performance in hover mode.
      1. gridasov
        gridasov 4 August 2021 19: 30
        Not to say that there is a sinking mode when the application of power does not affect the operation of the propeller.
        1. vovochkarzhevsky
          vovochkarzhevsky 5 August 2021 01: 02
          Are you talking about the so-called vortex ring? The Osprey has such a danger, like any helicopter. But the main problem is that it has two screws. And if this pernicious phenomenon arises unevenly, then the result is deplorable.
          1. gridasov
            gridasov 5 August 2021 08: 52
            I am further down to such names.
            It is a physical effect within a process algorithm and has causes and consequences. Neither propellers, nor propellers, nor any turbines are capable of providing continuity of flow on the outflow surface. Therefore, in an environment with varying degrees of humidity, pressure, at different speeds of rotation of the blades, these processes can occur at the most unforeseen moments. And these are disasters and unfulfilled combat or other tasks.
    2. Aleksandr97
      Aleksandr97 5 August 2021 16: 55
      The V-22 proved to be extremely susceptible to a very unpleasant aerodynamic phenomenon - the "vortex ring". This is when a helicopter propeller generates a toroidal vortex (some smokers can do a similar thing out of smoke) And if the helicopter descends, such a vortex can form around the propeller. In this case, the propeller thrust drops sharply and the helicopter "falls through". This is frustrating, but generally not disastrous for a conventional helicopter. This condition does not develop very quickly and the pilot can usually “catch” dense air and regain thrust. In the case of the V-22, catastrophe is guaranteed - after all, it is supported by two widely spaced propellers, and when one propeller hits the vortex ring, Osprey immediately falls to one side and falls like a stone.
      This problem has not been resolved on the V-22 - it will also be on the new Wunderwaffe ...
  8. abc_alex
    abc_alex 8 August 2021 13: 38
    Do I understand correctly that it is planned to use a generator and electric motors only for takeoff and landing? That is, in cruise mode it will be just a dead weight? Somehow this model with the concept of "efficiency" does not fit in my head. It turns out that two propulsion engines act as "passengers" during takeoff. And in cruising mode, a generator, electric motors with propellers and a generator traction motor? Or how?
    By the way, the scheme with rear-mounted motors has an irreparable defect of "shading" by the engine wing at high angles of attack ...

    Why not use a scheme with forced blowing of the wing with electric motors? How on TVS-2MS? If you really want a shortened takeoff ...
  9. 75 Sergey
    75 Sergey 9 September 2021 14: 01
    The problem of tiltrotors with a propeller is the need to think over the wing and fuselage, they reduce the lift and, moreover, they also impede lifting, and hence the low efficiency.
    When will the turbojet engines be installed?
  10. Klingon
    Klingon 22 October 2021 08: 13
    Quote: Leader of the Redskins
    Not much time will pass and the aircraft from the film about the distant future

    Will become an everyday reality ...
    We live in an interesting time!

    As an example in the photo you gave an unsuccessful design, this device will not fly from the Avatar. The analogue of HSVTOL is rather the flying "Hunter" from Terminator 1, 2