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Eurocopter, 4 new rotorcraft by 2020, X4, X6, X9, ..

Old 11th Feb 2013, 13:39
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Eurocopter, 4 new rotorcraft by 2020, X4, X6, X9, ..

Eurocopter is developing 4 new helicopters this decade.

X4 - 4-5t helicpter, first flight 2015
X6 - 11 t helicopter, first flight 2017
X9 - light twin, first flight 2019
X? - medium helicopter using X3 technology (militairy?) first flight 2017-2020

Little information available it seems, this artist impression has been floating being representative for the X4. The tail looks unsymmetrical. The other types would use the same technology as the X4, that is under full development.W'll see more p[robably this summer. Fly by wire, side-sticks, glass cockpit etc. are part of the program.



Eurcopter tested the new 70% more silent rotor. These are sound recordings from inside the cabin:
Eurocopter Blue Edge rotor blade noise reduction - YouTube

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Old 11th Feb 2013, 15:10
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One of them to be a replacement for the 225 I bet.

What kind of trade-in value would you get for a used 225 I wonder?
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Old 11th Feb 2013, 15:45
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How predictable
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Old 11th Feb 2013, 22:37
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That would be the X6 a 11t helicopter first flight in 2017.

Eurocopter To Launch Super Puma Replacement | Aviation International News
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Old 11th Feb 2013, 23:41
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Let's just hope that they can supply bits for the things faster than they can for our Gazelle!
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 10:28
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Gazelle, that would be the X9
Eurocopter to build X9 at Donauwörth

I must say launching 4 programmes for first flight this decade surprized me. EADS Eurocopter must be extremely confident and well financed.

It seems they managed to complete the X3 program satisfactory. In secrecy until roll out, very unusual for Europe. The forth unnamed program should build on X3 and X4 technology. No doubt a very fast and expensive machine, suitable for e.g. special operations.

Apart from the militairy double rotor push fan development, are there similar advanced technology programs in the US? I remember the US companies were dominant until the nineties with Bell, Sikorsky, Hughes, Boeing, MD.. Victims of the fall of the wall?
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 12:00
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I thought France was on our side of the wall? Did I miss something?
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 13:17
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SASless, I checked the OEM websites and get the impression those US manufacturers are strong on militairy machines

- Bell; UH1/Cobra, Kiowa, 525 being a fresh civil one.
- Sikorsky; BlackHawk and civil variants, CH53s, a few light ones
- Boeing; Chinooks, Apaches from 30-50 yrs ago, Ospreys
- MD; limited portfolio there was there 20 yrs ago

Bell has been mass producing the 206 since the sixties, a popular series with many derivatives. The new Bell 525 Relentless seems well positioned for the future, but doesn't look extra efficient / high tech / silent compared to other rotorcraft of the last 20 yrs.

I get the impression on the civil side the US companies haven't seen much R&D investmentd during the last 10 yrs and I do not see any future programs getting launched.

Most civil products seem to have a militairy background. Cutting back on that after the wall falling, might have something to do with it. But maybe I missed something, hence my question.


---------
A FG graph I just found seems to suggest the european manufacturers have taken over. What went wrong in the US, IMO the largest heli market?


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Old 12th Feb 2013, 15:04
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What we actually need is a gearbox upgrade to the EC120 to release more power.

Or is that just me????
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 16:10
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R81.......you couldn't be more correct!!!

Upgrade the EC120 now!!! Kind of like they did the AS350B to the AS350BA.
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 16:20
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What went wrong in the US, IMO the largest heli market?
Tough to compete with a european consortium funded by huge sums of interest-free multi-government-backed loans and grants.
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 16:47
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Oh and the US manufacturers aren't? They get more than enough investment through their government programmes but haven't invested the profits in R and D,relying instead in spinning off technology from the military research programmes.
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 19:02
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Blind reliance on continuing military orders and complacency killed the US commercial helicopter industry.
Can it come back? Time will tell but it's going to need much more than the Relentless!
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 23:30
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It seems the US Army is all to aware of the position of the US industry. The Osprey is the last big new innovative program and dates back from the eighties.

Rotor & Wing Magazine :: Investing in the Future
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 01:26
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Oh and the US manufacturers aren't? They get more than enough investment through their government programmes but haven't invested the profits in R and D,relying instead in spinning off technology from the military research programmes.
The situation surrounding the pace of commercial rotorcraft technology development is different than that of other types of commercial aircraft. It takes huge amounts of time and money to bring any new commercial helicopter model to market, even more so if the model involves lots of new technologies. The total global annual market for new commercial rotorcraft is not that large, in terms of numbers or value, compared to the market for commercial/business fixed-wing aircraft. Thus it is very hard for management of a publicly-held company like Sikorsky or Bell to justify committing hundreds of millions of shareholder dollars on a completely new model, for a period of up to 6 or 8 years until it produces some positive cash flow and profit.

This is not to say that there is no new technology in the commercial rotorcraft market. It's just that the types of new technologies are those that can be integrated into existing models. Things like better blades, better avionics, active vibration control systems, FBW controls and software, etc.

A perfect example of how difficult it can be to bring an advanced commercial rotorcraft model to market is that of Bell with the 609 tiltrotor. I would also point out that Sikorsky/UTC is spending its own money to develop the S-97 model.
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 15:48
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A perfect example of how difficult it can be to bring an advanced commercial rotorcraft model to market is that of Bell with the 609 tiltrotor.
From Wiki:

In 1996, Bell and Boeing had formed a partnership to develop a civil aircraft; however, in March 1998, Boeing pulled out of the project. In September 1998, it was announced that Agusta was now a partner in the development program.[1] This led to the establishment of the Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company (BAAC), a joint venture between Bell Helicopter and AgustaWestland, to develop and manufacture the aircraft.[2]
...
On 21 September 2009, AgustaWestland chief executive Giuseppe Orsi said that corporate parent Finmeccanica had authorised buying Bell Helicopter out of the program in order to speed it up.[10] By 2011, negotiations centred on the full transfer of technologies shared with the V-22.[11][12] At the 2011 Paris Air Show, AgustaWestland stated that it will assume full ownership of the programme, redesignating the aircraft as "AW609", and that Bell Helicopter will remain in the role of component design and certification.[13] In November 2011, the exchange of ownership was completed, following the granting of regulatory approval.[8]


Riff_raff, it seems even when they were the driver seat for new technology Boeing and Bell pulled out. While they were selling quiet well it seems.


I would also point out that Sikorsky/UTC is spending its own money to develop the S-97 model.
Reading the PR it seems they are competing for a US DoD program. It sure looks like a promising design. Maybe civil spin off in a later stage. As far as I can see there's nearly always NASA, Darpha and or AFRL contributions in. Indirectly, providing basic technology, patents, facilities, resources. Just like in Europe.
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 15:24
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Originally Posted by Bitmonx
Upgrade the EC120 now
Shame this never proceeded past the study phase

Originally Posted by SansAnhedral
Tough to compete with a european consortium funded by huge sums of interest-free multi-government-backed loans and grants
As with the Airbus vs. Boeing spat, there's some truth to both arguments. In the rotorcraft world, the high-volume DoD programs allowed Sikorsky, Boeing and Bell to enjoy significant scale economies, underpinning the production efficiencies and low cost sourcing introduced by these primes. And the European loans are to some degree countered by DoD Independent Research and Development (IRAD) funding under FAR 31.205-18 (though ironically one of the civil programs to have most benefitted from IRAD is the AW609).

Originally Posted by Gemini Twin
Blind reliance on continuing military orders and complacency killed the US commercial helicopter industry
This is an interesting question. When Bell's Terry Stinson famously stated in a Rotor & Wing interview in February 2001, "In all honesty, if we had the chance to enter the commercial helicopter manufacturing business from scratch, in today’s market, I wouldn’t do it. It’s not profitable enough." he was widely derided. But from Stinson's perspective, he was probably just calculating that 360 V-22s and 280 UH-1Y/AH-1Zs were equivalent in value to 23,000 JetRangers. And at the time it probably seemed a lot easier delivering Ospreys, Venoms and Vipers than that many 206s.

I/C
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Old 26th Jan 2015, 14:23
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X4

It looks like the X4 is finally going to be released to the public:



.... ummm... that looks kind of familiar....



I guess there are only so many ways to introduce a helicopter?
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Old 26th Jan 2015, 16:38
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Best way to introduce a new design is to follow up with orders and deliveries, and most and foremost delivering the performance you promise.
Airbus and Bell are selling vaporware.
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Old 26th Jan 2015, 17:48
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
... What kind of trade-in value would you get for a used 225 I wonder?

If you want to trade it in for type that fewer people have died in then you might struggle.
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