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Future Helicopters

Kirkhill

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Tilt Rotor issues and the landing area required for the Valor had me expecting the LocMart/Sik/Boeing Defiant to come out on top. Not to mention the whole aspect of the LocMart/Sik production line workforce of the BlackHawk. In an era of ensuring supply chains are maintained, adding Bell to the Army was very unexpected.
Conneticut is going to be gutted.

Unless, perhaps, there is a lifeline of sorts here?


As to the landing area, if we are looking at long range applications, especially in a Canadian context, the Valor may not use a conventional helipad but there would be an awful lot of dirt strips, open fields, frozen lakes and sea ice that would make for usable landing grounds. Along with ships decks?
 

KevinB

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Unless, perhaps, there is a lifeline of sorts here?

Congress plussed up the Blackhawk contract last week, but I didn’t think that was anything significant.

The Autonomous Blackhawk is not solely a LocMart thing, so any copter can be converted.

I expect a LocMart protest, it will be interesting to see what occurs then.
 

Spencer100

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Thinking from an industry angle. It sends a message to Lockheed and Boeing. I think for the long run it's important to keep Bell in the race. With Marine contracts coming to an end this was important to Bell. Without this Bell as a military contractor would be doubt. I think the Bell should have gotten based on that alone. Both Lockheed and Boeing will be find without it not so much Bell. Smart move.

Well Sikorsky will get the FARA then.
 

Skysix

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Tilt Rotor issues and the landing area required for the Valor had me expecting the LocMart/Sik/Boeing Defiant to come out on top.
I HIGHLY doubt the claimed range is roundtrip with full combat load of troops. That would more likely be about 800 miles.
 

KevinB

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Thinking from an industry angle. It sends a message to Lockheed and Boeing. I think for the long run it's important to keep Bell in the race. With Marine contracts coming to an end this was important to Bell. Without this Bell as a military contractor would be doubt. I think the Bell should have gotten based on that alone. Both Lockheed and Boeing will be find without it not so much Bell. Smart move.

Well Sikorsky will get the FARA then.
You’re missing several angles.
The USMC has an insignificant Helicopter fleet compared to the Army. The end of Bell for the DoD as an aviation provider shouldn’t have been a concern as far as product numbers.

140 UH-1Y and ~150 AH-1W/Z mix that’s a farce compared to over 2,400 Blackhawks that Sik has fielded to the US Army.



Given the stakes, I’m curious to see how things shake out.
 

KevinB

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This is an interesting turn of events…

One of the Test Pilots I know still is curious how the Crew Chiefs are going to use gun positions - when some of the Aviation folks in Benning where asking the same question about gun arcs at the Bell booth, the Bell folks went kind of quiet.
When the Valor is in forward flight - the gun position is limited to a fairly narrow rear arc - the blades are virtually next to them, so the positions will likely have closed windows - and internally stored weapons

As opposed to how the Blackhawk is run currently
6A2BB4AE-D160-4CAE-A3F8-9BD004A0FDA5.jpeg

The Valors rear windows are unusable due to the door placement (which was one of their stock answers until someone pointed out the whole sliding door can't slide through a gun position...

Something that the LocMart team didn't have an issue with (almost like they have experience with this sort of thing)
 

CBH99

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Well, the programme was called the Future LONG RANGE Assault Aircraft. And the Indo Pacific was the preferred theatre.





Don't know about a Griffon replacement but how about a C295 Kingfisher, Twotter, Cormorant replacement that could be additionally purchased to supplement the Griffon and the Chinook? Leave the Griffon for the domestic utility role and add the Valor to move the companies of the Light Battalions and CSOR rapidly around North America (and Scandinavia).
At first I read this as sarcasm, but on second reading that might actually be a good idea.

Obviously wait until the bugs get worked out (I'm with KevinB on my feelings about the Osprey) and we obviously wouldn't replace the 295 so early in its service life anyway.

But once the bugs are worked out & it starts to enter service around 2030, that actually makes sense.

The Cormorants will need replacing, and the Griffons will probably be nearing replacement around that time also.

Since its tiltrotor, it could replace both the Cormorant and the Kingfisher with a common airframe with advantages the Osprey didn't have when we kicked those tires.



(The Australians knew shortly after they got the NH90 & Tiger they were turds, yet they tolerated them for how long? We are stuck with the Kingfisher for a while guys...)
 

KevinB

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It appears LocMart is still waiting on the debriefing to make a determination if they will protest.



Take a look at one of Bell's images at the bottom of this article - using the unusable crew chief window for the Minigun...
 

Good2Golf

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😮 Hope the pintle has stops on it…
 

KevinB

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😮 Hope the pintle has stops on it…
I notice that artist rendering there is missing a bunch of avionics and others physical aspects (like totally rearranging the front landing gear) that allow the gunner to be there too…
 

Good2Golf

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I notice that artist rendering there is missing a bunch of avionics and others physical aspects (like totally rearranging the front landing gear) that allow the gunner to be there too…
Who needs avionics when you have speed, range and a gun? 😉
 

Kirkhill

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@KevinB

Army aviation is entering into an existential crisis of sorts. The force was built for short-range conflicts in Europe and, to some degree, in the Middle East, not the vast expanses of the Pacific. When combat radius is measured in a couple of hundred miles, thousands of helicopters suddenly have much less to do during a peer-state conflict in that theater. Basing UH-60 Black Hawks and AH-64 Apaches forward close enough to make an impact in terms of most types of operations would put them squarely in the crosshairs of a very watchful and aware enemy. And even operating deep within the enemy's anti-access space puts traditional helicopters at extreme risk. With range and speed, the Army buys back relevance. It's as simple and hard to swallow as that. And no, that doesn't mean those factors solve all the Army's rotor-wing relevancy problems. Survivability is still a huge issue alone, but it goes a long way to making a case as to its value in a future conflict.


I sense the issue of the Door Gunner fits within the A-10 envelope. The Warthog, the Apache, the Armed Huey all arise from Vietnam and were translated to Germany with the Airland Battle. Iraq was the first real world trial of the Airland Concept and as I recall the experience was not the best.


Does the question really go back to:

What is Close Air Support?
Who can you trust to deliver it?

Additional questions

Is the F35 an effective Close Air Support platform?
Can Long Range Precision Fires adequately prep a Landing Zone?
 

Kirkhill

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Who needs avionics when you have speed, range and a gun? 😉

Eggzackly

William%20Avery%20Bishop.Main%20image.jpg
 

KevinB

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@KevinB




I sense the issue of the Door Gunner fits within the A-10 envelope.
The Crew Chief positions in the Aviation world down here man the guns. They are an integral part of local/self defense.
Or else any idiot with an RPG or Ak will take a crack at you.



The Warthog, the Apache, the Armed Huey all arise from Vietnam and were translated to Germany with the Airland Battle. Iraq was the first real world trial of the Airland Concept and as I recall the experience was not the best.
The Apache was a major hero in GW1 and did stellar duties in GWOT.
More and more Helo’s for door (and ramp) guns due to GWOT lessons learned.

Does the question really go back to:

What is Close Air Support?
Who can you trust to deliver it?
For some fighting CAS requires a slower speed than even an A10 can manage.
The advantage AH’s have is their loiter time on scene, where fast movers either drop from way way way above or are in and out and headed back for their luncheon and Tee Time.





Additional questions

Is the F35 an effective Close Air Support platform?
The F35 can be dependent upon Munitions, Pilot, and just as important the JTAC/FAC.
Can Long Range Precision Fires adequately prep a Landing Zone?
Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a terrible time to find out not when one is trying to insert.
 

Good2Golf

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Will be interesting to see how the review unfolds.
 

KevinB

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The LocMart team took their time on the review, they clearly believe there was something missing in the evaluation.

I’m rooting for Team Defiant, not because my wife works for LocMart RMS, (though that doesn’t hurt), but because I think it’s the better platform for the US Army at this juncture.
 

Good2Golf

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I haven’t flown an Osprey in real life, but flew HMX-1’s FSim and it wasn’t a very intuitive power quadrant to me as a fling-wing guy. The Harrier pilots definitely won out over the helo pilots during the design phase. Thrust/power control through the TCL (thrust control lever), not to be confused with the TCL of a Chinook (‘thrust’ is used on a tandem rotor helicopter in place of a single-rotor helicopter’s ‘collective’ control lever), moves linearly forward and aft with increasing power settings in the forward direction, so in hover mode the TCL is pushed forward to rise instead of a pure helicopter’s collective/thrust control levels pulling up/back to rise. Having flown the Defiant X FSim at an Army Aviation exposition, it felt a lot more intuitive, where control of the aft propellor was digitally blended into what most helo pilots would know as the cyclic control lever. That’s not the be all to end all, but in a pinch or critical moment, if the necessary immediate action is counter-intuitive, there may possibly (will) be situation where the outcome may not be as guaranteed as it might otherwise be. We shall see what the end result is.
 
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