Military Review

Hybrid helicopters coming to the fore

After understanding the details of the unsuccessful hostage rescue operation from the US Embassy in Tehran in 1980, when 3 out of 8 helicopters participating in the operation were unable to fulfill their mission and endangered the entire mission, military experts and analysts came to the conclusion that American the fleet desperately needed new cars. The military needed aircraft that would combine the vertical take-off of a helicopter with the speed and range of a jet aircraft. As a result, the famous V-22 “Osprey” tiltrotor with a variable tilt of rotors was born. V-22 is able to take on board up to 24 passengers and carry them to a distance of up to 1000 nautical miles at a speed of about 400 km / h. To date, it is the only tiltrotor in the world commercially available and in service with the US Army.

It is worth noting that today it is one of the most flexible vertical take-off and landing aircraft (VTOL) in the US Navy, which, in addition to the V-22, also include regular helicopters and so-called “jumping aircraft”. In addition, the V-22 "Osprey" is also the youngest of them. It is the convertiplane V-22 that represents the latest major addition to the VTOL arsenal in the last two decades.

And as modern tactics of warfare are increasingly inclined towards carrying out lightning, covert operations, VTOL has once again become a priority area for strategists of the American armed forces. In 2013, in the United States, 2-new programs were launched that are designed to improve flight speed, range, and efficiency of VTOL-machines. In March of this year, the US Army launched a project that officially begins accepting design technology developments that could become the basis of a new generation of rotary machines. The well-known companies Sikorsky and Boeing submitted a joint application, which is based on the Sikorsky X2 propeller and rotor system, which has already been repeatedly in the air; Bell Helicopter (one of the founders of the V-22) offered the military to improve the variable rotor system; and the European aerospace giant EADS is promoting its own design solution, which is based on an experimental super-helicopter called the “Eurocopter X3”.

Hybrid helicopters coming to the fore
V-22 "Osprey"

Sikorsky X2 (Sikorsky X2) is an experimental helicopter designed and built by Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation. It is a flying prototype helicopter coaxially with a pusher propeller, the machine was built on the basis of the experimental model S-69.

This aircraft is based on the concept of the advanced blades (ABC), it is equipped with two four-blade rotors, rotating in opposite directions, as well as a six-blade tail propeller. All the screws of the machine are driven by one turboshaft engine - LHTEC T800. Control Sikorsky Х2 completely electronic, mechanical connection between the performing devices and controls is absent. The weight of the machine, according to the manufacturer, is 3,6 tons, the maximum flight speed should be 474 km / h, and the maximum range - 1300 km. On the basis of the experimental helicopter Sikorsky X2, the S-97 Raider project is being implemented.

EurocopterX3 (or X-Cube) is an experimental hybrid model of a helicopter or rotary wing, which is designed and built by the famous company Eurocopter. This model was created in order to enable the helicopter to fly at speeds in 410 km / h. The main rotor EurocopterX3 consists of 5 blades, and at the ends of its short fixed wings were installed additional pulling propellers, which also have 5 blades. The tail propeller is absent on this aircraft.

Sikorsky X2

It is by the presence of short wings EurocopterX3 can be distinguished from the base model of the European concern - Eurocopter EC155 - on the basis of which it was developed and embodied in the metal. It should be noted that the base model Eurocopter EC155 significantly lags behind its hybrid counterpart in flight speed. The maximum speed of a regular helicopter is 175 nodes (324 km / h).

Compensation of the resulting reactive moment, which appears when the rotor rotates, is due to the work of the side propellers. The power plant of this aircraft consists of Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM2 322 turboshaft engines.
His first flight of EurocopterX3 made 6 September 2010 of the year in France. 12 May 2011, the machine was able to reach speeds in 430 km / h. 7 June 2013, the Eurocopter X3 hybrid helicopter set an absolute world record and provided a real breakthrough in stories aviationhaving managed to accelerate to a speed of 255 knots (472 km / h). Thus, the world record for horizontal helicopter flight speed was broken.

During its operation, the Eurocopter X3 hybrid helicopter managed to fly more than 140 hours. The first time the car took to the air in 2010 year. This was followed by a break in flights of a whole year, apparently, this time was spent by European engineers on the modernization and radical alteration of some of the nodes of the helicopter. In the near future, the Eurocopter X3 will be able to become the prototype for the creation of a new high-speed helicopter, which has already received the designation LifeCraft. Work on this machine is carried out by order of the European Commission. It is still difficult to say how long the Eurocopter X3 hybrid helicopter will be able to hold the palm in speed horizontal flight. Since on the way a new high-speed helicopter S-97 Raider, designed on the basis of Sikrosky X2. Soon this car should make its first flight.

Eurocopter X3

In addition to the above developments, the Agency of Advanced Defense Projects DARPA in February 2013 announced the launch of a new program with a total value of 130 million dollars. This program offers aerospace engineers to create a completely new approach to the concept of vertical take-off and landing aircraft - a wing with a rotor, a fixed wing, or there may be some kind of hybrid between these proposals.

Possessing a maximum flight speed of more than 400 km / h, the new VTOL will be able to significantly increase the operational capabilities of the US military. The increase in the speed of flight of helicopters will significantly reduce the time of delivery of personnel and cargo, as well as combat units to where it is needed, regardless of the terrain landscape in a given area. Despite the fact that precise design projects will be kept secret for some period of time, both DARPA and the US Army are counting on the first demonstration samples to be able to take to the 2017 year. Most likely, all of them will draw ideas and ready-made solutions from already implemented projects, which were written above. After almost 24 years, which have passed without any significant innovations, the concept of VTOL is again becoming the focus of attention of the US military.

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    NOMADE 10 July 2013 07: 34
    An interesting and promising direction. The above examples, in my opinion (I could be wrong), are much simpler and more technologically advanced - Osprey, which has a positive effect on the cost (initial, flight hour) and reliability. Also, on the face of a significant unification with existing helicopters, especially in the Eurocopter. In theory, we also need to actively move in this direction. Somewhere, earlier there was an article where the Americans converted the "black hawk" (if I'm not mistaken) into a similar scheme. Put a rotary tail rotor in the ring. So there, the work was minimal, and the effect (speed of about 400 - 420 km / h) is excellent. It would be interesting to introduce a similar scheme on some of our helicopters.
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov 10 July 2013 11: 37
      Quote: NOMADE
      The above presented instances, in my opinion (I could be wrong), are much simpler and more technologically advanced - Osprey, which positively affects the cost (initial, flight hour) and reliability.

      Plus safer - there is the possibility of landing on autorotation.
      1. crazyrom
        crazyrom 11 July 2013 18: 19
        I did not understand why our helicopters somehow ignored?

        (Damn, the picture is clumsily stretched, claims to the site!)
        1. The comment was deleted.
  2. Basileus
    Basileus 10 July 2013 07: 53
    They don’t sleep in the West. It is hoped that our Mi-X1, Ka-90 and Ka-92 will also soon grow from layouts into real flying prototypes.
    1. Scoun
      Scoun 10 July 2013 14: 40
      Пit’s still hard to say how long the Eurocopter X3 hybrid helicopter will be able to hold the palm in horizontal flight speed.

      and in place of this phrase I would like to see that the new Russian development broke several world records ...
      Since the approach of a new high-speed helicopter S-97 Raider, designed on the basis of Sikrosky X2. Soon This machine must make its first flight.

      We need such a rotorcraft .. at our distances, so to speak, small regional aviation ... .. otherwise there is still a situation .. you can get to many Russian cities only through Moscow, although it would seem that they are nearby .. 500 km and fly through Moscow ... so we look forward to it.
      1. Basileus
        Basileus 10 July 2013 15: 15
        Well, I don’t know, now we have launched a pilot program of flights in the Volga Federal District, calling them "preferential". Prices there are comparable to flights through Moscow.
  3. Yarosvet
    Yarosvet 10 July 2013 08: 39
    Everything new is well forgotten old.

    Project rotorcraft Ka-34
    1. Yarosvet
      Yarosvet 10 July 2013 08: 42
      Rotorcraft Ka-22
      1. 0255
        0255 10 July 2013 12: 05
        Two of the three Ka-22 crashed along with the crews due to difficult control, they abandoned it. Instead, they took either Mi-6, or Mi-26
        1. Algor73
          Algor73 10 July 2013 14: 04
          Yes, they appeared ahead of time. Technological progress has not reached the level of flight of thought of designers.
          1. cdrt
            cdrt 10 July 2013 18: 03
            No, it was the designers who showed themselves not as designers, but as inept dreamers.
            1. viktorrymar
              viktorrymar 11 July 2013 10: 10
              Do something yourself - then give estimates.
  4. pensioner
    pensioner 10 July 2013 09: 06
    It turns out that hybrids are the future, or what? There are experts on the site - enlighten.
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov 10 July 2013 11: 31
      I am not an expert, but I know that conventional helicopters have maximum speed limits. This is due to the fact that at high speeds there is a moment when the tips of the blades begin to go supersonic (helicopter speed + blade rotation speed). Which is not good at all. The British have designed and manufactured super-expensive special endings for their record-breaking Lynx. But even this did not solve the problem completely.

      Hybrid helicopters circumvent this limitation. The propeller at high speeds works like a gyroplane, that is, it exclusively creates lift. Accordingly, with increasing speed it is possible to reduce the number of revolutions. The maximum possible speed increases significantly.
      1. olegff68
        olegff68 10 July 2013 18: 49
        Quote: Spade
        This is due to the fact that at high speeds there is a moment when the tips of the blades begin to reach supersonic

        It should be added that there is a difference in lift between the advancing and retreating blades, which is leveled by the skewing mechanism, at high speeds, the retreating blades do not have time to "catch up" the air flow and cease to create lift, while the opposite - advancing blades continue to create it and the helicopter tends to rollover - the exit of 2 sets of main propellers working on the counter-movement and one pushing for speed, as on the Sikorsky X2 and spacecraft developments. The prototype Eurocopter X3 is likely to remain so due to its technical complexity and structural "imperfection" -imho.
  5. Sergey Medvedev
    Sergey Medvedev 10 July 2013 09: 20
    Let me remind you the story. In the Stalingrad boiler, to ensure the army of Paulus, cargo delivery via an air bridge in the amount of 700 tons per day was required. Goering has signed up to deliver 300 tons per day. In reality, 130 tons were produced. All the Luftwaffe could not cope! And this is on less complex machines!
    Of course, we also need such rotorcraft to expand our capabilities, but this technique will not be massive and decisive. Her field of activity is local wars and special operations.
    Well, in a serious mess, everything will be like in a song:
    "Where an armored train does not pass, a steel bird does not fly,
    a soldier will crawl on his belly, and nothing will happen to him! " soldier
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov 10 July 2013 11: 32
      Quote: Sergei Medvedev
      Of course, we also need such rotorcraft to expand our capabilities, but this technique will not be massive and decisive. Her field of activity is local wars and special operations.

      I apologize, but why did you conclude that helicopters will not be used in major military conflicts?
    2. cdrt
      cdrt 10 July 2013 18: 04
      I think 100 years ago they wrote the same thing about airplanes, and 65 years ago about helicopters wink
    3. olegff68
      olegff68 10 July 2013 19: 09
      Quote: Sergey Medvedev

      Of course, we also need such rotorcraft to expand our capabilities, but this technique will not be massive and decisive. Her field of activity is local wars and special operations.

      On the contrary !!! From the point of view of mechanics, the devices of the Sikorsky X2 type are even simpler than classical helicopters - despite the appearance of a pusher propeller, the notorious blade skew mechanism has disappeared !!! The flight, not counting the take-off mode, takes place "by plane"; therefore, the controls and the control of the apparatus itself are simpler. At high speeds, the main propellers do not require high rotational speeds i.e. do not eat off the lion's share of the energy necessary for flight - i.e. this is fuel economy, etc.
      It is up to the development of flight management techniques, production, certification, etc.
    4. max702
      max702 10 July 2013 21: 47
      Dear! How the wording "Serious mess" got it! What is it? How do you imagine it? Nuclear mushrooms from horizon to horizon? And we can't do without them if we grapple seriously, and who and where will crawl? Even if we use ordinary weapons to gouge objects of increased danger (nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, chemical storage plants, etc.), then the world will be full of the Arctic fox and, God forbid, we will roll back in the Middle Ages. And with nuclear weapons, I’m afraid only viruses and bacteria will remain in a hundred years. days go by for almost 70 years! And each time one answer, tactics are not ready for such conflicts, technique too ... maybe it's enough to think about something globally unreal, but to think about what is needed here and now?
  6. strange and pretty meaningless
    strange and pretty meaningless 10 July 2013 09: 24
    Quadruple room Pipiprel pantera from Slovenia. In gasoline, hybrid and purely electric versions. In the latter, however, the range drops 4 times from gasoline.
  7. Prapor Afonya
    Prapor Afonya 10 July 2013 09: 58
    Such machines, equipped with a rotor and propeller, were the ancestors of helicopters, and were called gyroplanes!
    1. Basileus
      Basileus 10 July 2013 11: 10
      As far as I understand, the rotor here, unlike the gyroscope screw, has its own drive, and does not rotate under the pressure of air.
    2. Lopatov
      Lopatov 10 July 2013 11: 34
      Not certainly in that way. These are truly hybrids. Helicopter and gyroplane. Moreover, they only become autogyros at high speeds.
  8. 0255
    0255 10 July 2013 12: 08
    I would like to see the Russian analogue of such machines, and so that it does not look like them like PAK FA on the F-22 or Tu-160 on the V-1)))
    1. Basileus
      Basileus 10 July 2013 12: 48
      Well, you know, if similar requirements are imposed on cars, why shouldn't they be similar in appearance?
    2. abc_alex
      abc_alex 10 July 2013 13: 36
      Type in Google Mi-X1 or Ka-92 and admire.

      And do not worry about similarity - aerodynamics is an OBJECTIVE science, if there are identical tasks, then the objects will turn out to be identical.
      1. Basileus
        Basileus 10 July 2013 14: 02
        Only these models from the stand can only be admired.
    3. cdrt
      cdrt 10 July 2013 18: 05
      Well, actually the same problems, often lead to the same technical solutions ... So ... they will look like
  9. ed65b
    ed65b 10 July 2013 13: 35
    We do not need any rotorcraft, gyroplane, hybrid and other crap. we need modern aircraft attack helicopters normal air defense and all. It’s just the grandmothers who are mastering it, and they present it to us as supertexnum. What I saw is a coaxial screw and a propeller in the ass. That’s the whole thought. rave.
    1. SIT
      SIT 10 July 2013 13: 59
      Quote: ed65b
      We do not need any rotorcraft, gyroplane, hybrid and other crap. we need modern aircraft attack helicopters normal air defense and all

      For a modern attack helicopter, a speed of 470 km / h is much more preferable than 310 km / h as on the KA 52 for example. That's just to reach speeds greater than 400 can only be on a hybrid scheme helicopter-gyroplane. So it would be nice to get such crap ...
    2. Windbreak
      Windbreak 10 July 2013 17: 29
      In the USSR, once helicopters were considered unnecessary garbage. But the war in Korea showed the opposite.
  10. svp67
    svp67 10 July 2013 14: 07
    In the beginning, the "motorists" did the same thing. wink - gyros ... Well, new knowledge - a new round ...
  11. Kir
    Kir 10 July 2013 15: 59
    All this is of course interesting, that's just how the landing and "pick-up" of the troops will take place, especially in the application of the Eurocopter X3. and in general, what kind of stealth can we talk about at the same noise level from helicopter propellers, well, if only autorotation. and then forgive, but the pulling-pushing are silent7 and forgive no glider.
  12. Setrac
    Setrac 10 July 2013 18: 08
    Autogyros and their variants do not solve the problem, but only push it aside, ideally in horizontal flight, the lifting screw (or the rotating wing?) Should be completely abandoned. It is necessary to develop aircraft vertical take-off and landing.
  13. earthling
    earthling 10 July 2013 21: 33
    Ours will also invent something no worse than the bourgeoisie. Moscow Helicopter Plant, despite the difficulties, is developing.
    1. UFO
      UFO 10 July 2013 22: 50
      The Ka-50,52 is no worse than the "bourgeois" and even better. And in the future, if he slightly increase the wingspan, reduce the length of the bearing blades, make 2 tail keels, and put a speed propeller between them - that's on. imagination. Not much to finish. wink