Military Review

In place of the V-22 "Osprey" will come "Transformer" from Lockheed Martin Skunk Works

41
DARPA, the Pentagon’s Advanced Defense Research Agency, has a reputation as an organization that readily uses innovative solutions for its practical tasks. Such well-known threats to personnel and vehicles, such as improvised explosive devices, have caused the emergence of the Transformer program.


In their initial requirements for Transformer, DARPA asked the participants to “demonstrate a four-seater, flying and transportable vehicle along the highway that provides the unit with mobility independent of the terrain. The vehicle will be able to take off and land vertically, with a minimum 250 combat range of nautical miles on one fuel tank. ”

Translation of an article from CodeOneMagazine, 26 May 2013, Eric Hehs, illustration author Doug Moore

"Skunk Works" (born Skunk Works) - the secret branch of the company "Lockheed" (born Lockheed Martin). Formally referred to as "Lockheed's Advanced Development Project division", the division was headed by Kelly Johnson.



"Transporting and supplying troops to difficult terrain has become a major problem, especially since the US military is switching to using smaller and more distributed combat units," explained Kevin Renshaw, who heads Transhemer’s program at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.

Skunk Works formed a team in 2010 with Piasecki Aircraft Corporation and Ricardo, Inc., which were selected for the DARPA Transformer program. At the first stage of the program, the Skunk Works team conducted economic research and developed a system concept for Transformer.

The program, currently in the 3 phase, seeks to develop a new generation of compact, high-speed, vertical take-off and landing, or VTOL, or VTOL, delivery systems.

The scope of the program has since been expanded to focus on universal modular VTOLT, which can adapt to several types of missions with interchangeable payloads.



“Transformer will use several key technologies to create operational VTOL systems more compact than conventional helicopters, and in addition to this, moving at a higher speed,” said Renshaw.

Going out to the second phase of the DARPA Transformer program 2011 , the Lockheed Martin team formed its concept and completed a preliminary design review with DARPA and other technicians in 2012 year.



The draft design became the basis for the 3 Phase, which includes the design and construction of a prototype system. Lockheed Martin won the 3 Phase contract for $ 20,3 million at the end of the 2012 year for a detailed study of the design, risk reduction tests that lead to the final design choice. After this, DARPA will evaluate the possibility of building a flight prototype in 2015 year.

In place of the V-22 "Osprey" will come "Transformer" from Lockheed Martin Skunk Works


Lockheed Martin has a head start in the development and deployment of unmanned vertical take-off and landing systems thanks to K-MAX, an unmanned cargo helicopter currently operated by the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan. K-MAX helicopters are piloted remotely, with automated navigation between waypoints, delivering cargo on an external sling.

Engineers at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training have demonstrated the use of these unmanned helicopters to deliver more than three million pounds (1360 tons) of cargo for marines. Systems have limited their interaction with IED servicemen by tens of thousands of hours. The success of K-MAX in Afghanistan led the Marines to extend the demonstration indefinitely.

Mission Systems and Training also contracted the Naval Research Authority to demonstrate advanced sensors and controls for vertical take-off and landing of unmanned air systems, or UAS, as part of the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility program. System), or AACUS.

AACUS will test sensors and flight control software so that the next generation of UAS VTAS will autonomously determine landing zones, avoid obstacles and perform landings without remote pilot intervention. The system will be designed to be programmed by soldiers and marines operating in this area, using a simple, intuitive control interface, such as military smartphones or tablet computers of increased strength. This technology enters the Transformer directly as part of the prototype of the upcoming DARPA troop operations management system.



The flight module of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), with fans in the annular fairing, is designed to adapt the Transformer to several types of missions, with interchangeable payloads. The load may include cargo capsules, medical evacuation modules, tactical ground vehicles, to realize reconnaissance and impact capabilities.

Tilting duct fans provide a safer application by combining high speed with a landing zone in half size required for a typical helicopter with a similar payload.



One of the first requirements for Transformer is the possibility of reconfiguring it to travel along one lane of the road. Thus, the system can take up to a maximum of 8,5 feet in width and 30 feet in length (2,6 to 9,1 meters). "Width the road determines the size of the duct fans, ”says Renshaw. “Restrictions lead to a system that fits into a small ship hangar or a C-130 transport. The fan duct design, with the rotor going outside, will also contribute to improving the safety of troops on the ground. ”



The ability to use the same flight module to complete several missions will reduce costs fleet. Transformers will complement the more expensive specialized attack helicopters, which require piloting by trained crews. “The modular concept reinforces the original vision of DARPA, allowing roles to be varied, offering versatility now and adaptability in the future,” added Renshaw.

Transition from horizontal to vertical flight for takeoffs and landings will be made automatically. The working version will autonomously move to the specified place of delivery, avoiding obstacles on the way or in the landing zone.

The design takes full advantage of the results of the work in the field of digital control of VTOL work done by Lockheed Martin in the past fifteen years in the framework of the X-35 and F-35 programs. Also applied the previous experience of the team with autonomous control of aerial unmanned systems. “Operation of such a system in the VTOL, transient and cruise flight mode requires the use of a flight control system,” says Renshaw.

The company Piasecki Aircraft, a long-leading research helicopter and VTOL, is responsible for the development of the flight module, including the design of the lifting drive. Frank Pyasetsky developed the dual rotor system for helicopters in the 1950 year. Today, its rotors are used on the CH-46 Sea Knight and Chinook CH / MH-47. The company's previous experience with channel fans VTOL includes a series of demonstrators VZ-8 AirGeep. Pyasetsky also investigated the potential of lifting modular systems in an evacuation project for military medical personnel of the US Army.

As part of the Transformer program, the prototype has been enhanced to highlight the development of the flying part of the modular system for the initial demonstration. Flight tests of the prototype will now demonstrate the flying module of the system as a UAS (drone, UAV, unmanned air systems), instead a manned vehicle controlled by a pilot remotely (RPV), as it was during the 2-th phase of work.

"The operating system should always be able to fly as a high-autonomous UAS (UAV), the flight module is able to return to the base after unloading the car," Renshou explained. “A working draft will definitely be able to carry a car as one of many payloads.”

During the 3 phase, the Lockheed Martin team will create detailed hardware drawings for the full-scale prototype of the flight module. The development will include hardware, drive shafts, screws, controls, gearboxes of a lifting transmission system.

The team adapts the existing flight control computers that will be used for the digital flight control system. The team will also select sensors, GPS-navigators, data lines for the operation of the UAS. Long transmission elements, as well as gears and bearings, will be ordered for the first tests of the transmission scheduled for 2014 year.

“The prototype will be driven by existing helicopter turboshaft engines,” explained Renshaw. “Available components will be selected to minimize prototype costs.”

There will also be created tools and software for digital flight control, guidance, transition modes and cruising flight. Control modeling and flight characteristics of the system are conducted in flight control laboratories. These simulations are aimed at ensuring the release of a software package for equipment tests and flight tests.

The team also builds a one-third scale model for testing in a wind tunnel in the fall. 2013 of the year. Tests characterize the effects of flow, energy and controllability throughout the thrust range. This data will then be used to complete the flight model, control laws, and software for the prototype.

Construction of the prototype will begin with the transmission, channel fans, tilt mechanisms. Then channel structures, flight control systems and electronics will be added. The test data of the system kit at the test bench will be used to measure and control thrust and feedback. The test bench will also allow testing of failures and emergency procedures with flight equipment and software in a controlled environment.

The program will end with a demonstration of the ability of the flight module to perform vertical take-off, hang-up, a smooth transition to horizontal flight, and also check the specified flight performance. After the prototype shows that it can fly, as predicted, additional tests with different types of payload will be performed. The specificity of these tests will depend on the requirements of consumers. “We are in contact with US Marine Corps, US Army and Special Operations Command operators to determine the scope of the system,” says Renshaw.

“Once Transformer is fully developed, it will be able to provide future commanders with greater flexibility and ability to transport personnel, carrying out reconnaissance missions, as well as supporting the troops on the battlefield,” concluded Renshaw. The opportunity for small units to operate in the field, to move out of the forward bases, to make deliveries or evacuate the wounded. And all this without asking for the support of high-demand helicopters. This may revolutionize dispersed operations.

Historical reference. Skunk works is the secret branch of Lockheed (Lockheed Martin). Formally, this unit was called Lockheed's Advanced Development Project division, a promising development company. At the head of the unit was "Kelly" Johnson. The top-secret division at Lockheed was established in 1943 specifically for the XP-80 fighter jet development program. The secret bureau received the name after a curious incident. The secret architects of not only Lockheed, but also Boeing, were engaged in the program for the Archangel 2 project (future SR-71), although from the very beginning, Lockheed was preferred. In the early 60s, Lockheed designers were fond of comics about moonshine and secret moonshine, brewed in the woods, including from skunksprinted on the last page of the weekly newspaper. The passion was so strong that workers began to be called “skunks” behind their eyes, and the word, or rather the expression “skunk works” got accustomed and reached the very top after a phone call from the government, the ministry representative was discouraged when he was told that there was “skunk works. The fact is that the word “skunk” in relation to a person is translated as “scoundrel”, but the word is not a sparrow, and the unofficial name of the secret bureau stuck, even the emblem of a funny skunk appeared.

Author:
Originator:
http://codeonemagazine.com/article.html?item_id=118
Photos used:
illustration author Doug Moore
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  1. Lech from ZATULINKI
    Lech from ZATULINKI 8 October 2013 08: 35 New
    0
    Very interesting developments - will the US have enough money for this?
    I doubt it is too expensive.
    1. Papakiko
      Papakiko 8 October 2013 12: 57 New
      +7
      Quote: Lech s ZATULINKI
      Very interesting developments - will the US have enough money for this?

      Enough is enough, and not only that, but much more.
      Not an article, but directly MK or UT.
      As a youth visited.
    2. Andriuha077
      8 October 2013 13: 01 New
      +2
      Better not enough.
      Electronics cheaper, civil engines, easily replicated toys.
    3. Geisenberg
      Geisenberg 8 October 2013 13: 27 New
      +4
      Quote: Lech from ZATULINKI
      Very interesting developments - will the US have enough money for this?


      Skunk Crafts? What exactly should a company release in order to associate itself with a skunk? Just do anyone have any thoughts when they say about a skunk ?? laughing
    4. Andrey Yuryevich
      Andrey Yuryevich 8 October 2013 14: 11 New
      +4
      plagiarism ... "avatar" looked and blown away ....
    5. self-propelled
      self-propelled 8 October 2013 18: 57 New
      +1
      Quote: Lech s ZATULINKI
      Will the US have enough money for this?

      there is a cheaper option wassat
      joke... laughing
      1. Andriuha077
        9 October 2013 12: 25 New
        0

        Kamov, 1932
  2. Hey
    Hey 8 October 2013 09: 03 New
    +2
    On one engine can it fly or will it tip over on its side?
    1. Andriuha077
      8 October 2013 10: 52 New
      +2
      Engine - yes, screw - no; there is a shaft as always.
  3. saag
    saag 8 October 2013 10: 47 New
    +3
    interesting, but what if you make the engine in the center with the drives to the fans?
    1. Andriuha077
      8 October 2013 10: 53 New
      +1
      A little more load on the gears (so they are only in emergency), and it’s easier to knock out.
  4. Turkestan
    Turkestan 8 October 2013 12: 14 New
    +4
    Why not. Children’s toys of about the same design fly well. The time will come when the aircraft will be created with one powerful, economical engine, but for this it will be necessary to come up with controls for the system of air nozzles operating in different directions, the planes of the flying device. This will be a new step in aviation.
  5. smiths xnumx
    smiths xnumx 8 October 2013 13: 03 New
    +3
    The Western Internet was bypassed by this photo of an American Marine with a cigarette and a can of energy drink against the background of the fallen Osprey in Afghanistan, which he himself made on his mobile phone and posted on the network:

    The fighter himself "depicted on the bottle" writes in the internet (or under the nickname Keggerss someone writes for him):
    (my free arrangement)
    “We flew on missions on Ospreys for several months, they were constantly leaking hydraulics, so we got used to it. This time the crew commander also said OK and we flew. The flight ended somewhere in the middle of the planned 45 minutes - there was a strong pop , then the propellers got up, the flight was at night, it was not visible from the outside from what height we were falling. We landed on a ledge, the whole body howled from the impact. The rear ramp was blocked, we had to get out through the gunner's right hatch.
    They took up defensive positions, and the shelling began 10 minutes later. The Osprey crew almost immediately took another helicopter - and we thought that "the captain is the last to leave his ship." We were ordered to guard the apparatus.
    In about a week, he was dismantled and taken away. It's good that we were supported by tankers and infantrymen. "
    http://nosikot.livejournal.com/1257958.html
    1. Altona
      Altona 8 October 2013 18: 18 New
      +3
      It’s good that this soldier caught on time ... There is nothing revolutionary in this technique, the same Osprey in meaning ... The fact that hydraulics breaks down, it is not surprising, to rotate the axis of the rotary screw is still that work, you can experiment with the home fan-vibration and incredible efforts plus the load on the rotation bearings ... Our engineers of the Soviet defense industry would surely have made everything simpler and more elegant if they had been given the task of developing such cargo-passenger modules ...
  6. parij777
    parij777 8 October 2013 13: 18 New
    0
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  7. The comment was deleted.
  8. Simple
    Simple 8 October 2013 13: 34 New
    +4
    There were such ideas:

    Ryan Flexwing target Marines early sixties:
    1. USNik
      USNik 8 October 2013 14: 15 New
      +3
      There were such ideas:

      Ryan Flexwing target Marines early sixties:
      The horror, what will happen if the "trailer" gains altitude and overtakes the "tractor" at the peak? belay
      Judging by the drawings, the Transformer will pull a maximum of 2 tons, which, in principle, is not so small. But I don’t know how he will deal with calculating the aerodynamics of different loads, since the container is one, and the buggy is the third ...
      1. Andriuha077
        8 October 2013 16: 10 New
        +1
        Cope no worse than this children's toy:


        AR.Drone Navigation
      2. ramsi
        ramsi 8 October 2013 17: 09 New
        +1
        the possibility of turning fans is doubtful - you need a center of mass. True, the load could help the central module in this ... Well, or there will be significant restrictions on the draft of an empty apparatus
        1. Andriuha077
          8 October 2013 18: 31 New
          +1
          Look, an elevon is introduced into the flow behind the fan - therefore, there is no doubt.
          A stick with fans, under its influence, dangles in space as it wants, and this central tank or a payload, like a gyro platform with a cannon or a pack of rockets weighing about a ton, rotate as it likes.
          1. ramsi
            ramsi 9 October 2013 08: 23 New
            +1
            I think that these planes are more for flight control, and not for turning screws. If the central module weighs how it looks, then it will be he who revolves around the fans, and not vice versa
            1. Andriuha077
              9 October 2013 11: 36 New
              0
              The same thing, simpler: the central module and everything below it can just hang, and the screws rotate using the forces that create these planes when they are blown.
              1. ramsi
                ramsi 9 October 2013 13: 13 New
                0
                that is, they are rotated and fixed in the central module in the desired position; and, judging by the drawing, all this, including flight, in the automatic mode? .. Oh, they’re fooling our brother
                1. Andriuha077
                  9 October 2013 15: 51 New
                  +1
                  Yes, this could surprise, in the last century.


                  Quadrocopter Ball Juggling, ETH Zurich

                  Robot Quadrotors Perform James Bond Theme

                  Quadrocopter Pole Acrobatics
      3. The comment was deleted.
      4. The comment was deleted.
  9. Chever
    Chever 8 October 2013 14: 08 New
    +5
    Yes, a bold project. Indeed, the article seems to be from the "Young Technician". Youth Techniques or other similar publication ...
  10. nazgul-ishe
    nazgul-ishe 8 October 2013 15: 15 New
    +4
    This technique, with further development, will still show itself, but for now these are toys.
  11. APASUS
    APASUS 8 October 2013 22: 26 New
    0
    Comp and software for a talkie machine will cost more than the machine itself, while this is only fantasy
    1. Andriuha077
      9 October 2013 00: 28 New
      0
      +, a good guess, given the appetites of the military-industrial complex.
      However, is the assessment based on anything?
      If you look almost at the actions performed by the machine, now there are plenty of free software with open source codes, including cryptographic algorithms, suitable for this purpose and further development.
  12. Simple
    Simple 9 October 2013 01: 10 New
    0
    I agree with the APASUS for software.
    This is how it should be non-critical and anti-jamming in order to perform work similar to (at least) this one: look from 2: 09 min:

    1. Andriuha077
      9 October 2013 01: 25 New
      0
      Take the software for the task of this level right now from the toy in the video above, put the desired closed line, and use it for health. It is also easy to get to anti-aircraft maneuvers, following the terrain and dodging, everything is in the public domain and in source codes.
      Developers operate on more interesting goals.
      Work is measured by salary and man-hours, after setting the task.
      1. Simple
        Simple 9 October 2013 10: 59 New
        0
        Are you serious - about software from toys?
        Nothing that the ship is real?
        1. Andriuha077
          9 October 2013 11: 41 New
          0
          What are the differences, or will I name: dimensions, lower reaction rate.
          And to this is added the difference from the different cargo, cargo handling - everything is in the toy.
          There may even be identical processors, of course, duplicated in the screen.
          Will they add sensors - they will simply duplicate: there are already a lot of superfluous in this toy.
          Better glasses will be put on a similar video matrix.
          1. Simple
            Simple 10 October 2013 00: 29 New
            +1
            Let's dwell on the "software"
            Take for example F-35-how much critical code does it have?
            It was possible to program easier, and there were no critical places in the programs.
            But no, software has to provide various systems
            avionics of the aircraft (you still can’t forget about communication with the outside world), yes
            still give the military elements of the so-called intelligence.
            Maybe we should endow the machine with "brains" who, in the course of the development of operational circumstances, will be able to make the right decision at least within the framework of the task at hand?
            Independently decide in case of failure to fulfill (for any reason) the task of returning, self-disruption, or emergency landing?
            Or do you think that this is unnecessary for an ordinary transformer-transporter?
            Then someone’s fighters may not hold out, because the transporter did not deliver the necessary.
            1. studentmati
              studentmati 10 October 2013 00: 38 New
              +2
              Quote: Simple
              Let's dwell on the "software"


              Artificial intelligence is artificial by definition, that is, it performs the functions I have laid down. Any "present" in excess of the possible will be classified as "Erroy" (Error, may not be translated into English)
              1. Alex 241
                Alex 241 10 October 2013 00: 44 New
                +1
                Error Sash .......................
                1. studentmati
                  studentmati 10 October 2013 00: 50 New
                  +1
                  Quote: Alex 241
                  Error Sash .......................


                  Thank you, Sash for the amendment, on our Zelenograd MK-85 microcalculator I recall it!
                2. Simple
                  Simple 10 October 2013 00: 50 New
                  0
                  You too, Sanya!
                  How is Peter?
              2. Simple
                Simple 10 October 2013 00: 47 New
                0
                Greetings, Alexander!

                To replace a person on the pilot’s place, someone else will have to sweat
                (Well, so that without "Yegor")

                hi
            2. Andriuha077
              10 October 2013 00: 52 New
              +1
              The device is made simple when the F-35 ate, taking into account his experience. Speeds are relatively low. The number of control channels and the mission model corresponds to the toy.
              Additional sensors and functions will ensure work in the pack (although not, it is also in the toy). Okay, they will choose the minimum detection probability angles in each range. Taking into account the psychosomatic reactions of the enemy when firing at him from this unit, the secret weak points of his equipment.
              Taking into account the practice of military procurement, it is not a problem to buy snow in winter, there would be preliminary agreements.
              1. Simple
                Simple 10 October 2013 00: 58 New
                +1
                Andrey, I will be glad to read the news on this event on topwar.

                hi
                1. Simple
                  Simple 10 October 2013 01: 03 New
                  +1
                  I'll go to sleep.
                  Have a good dream!
  13. The comment was deleted.
  14. Simple
    Simple 9 October 2013 01: 20 New
    +1
    Quote: USNik
    There were such ideas:

    Ryan Flexwing target Marines early sixties:
    The horror, what will happen if the "trailer" gains altitude and overtakes the "tractor" at the peak? belay



    On command: "Beware of the container!" the crew leaves the car urgently
    1. studentmati
      studentmati 10 October 2013 01: 16 New
      +2
      Quote: Simple
      On command: "Beware of the container!" the crew leaves the car urgently


      Will you, Alexander, decide: either "I'll go to bed" or "beware of the container"? Yours faithfully!
      1. Simple
        Simple 10 October 2013 13: 39 New
        0
        Alexander, look at the date.
  15. Andriuha077
    April 15 2014 21: 17 New
    0
    Piasecki Aircraft, a long-standing research company in helicopter and VTOL aircraft, is responsible for the development of the flight module, including the design of the lifting drive. Frank Pyasetskiy