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Sikorsky SB-1 flies for first time

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Sikorsky SB-1 flies for first time

Old 24th Mar 2019, 14:23
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by PlasticCabDriver View Post

Is it just me of does it remind anyone else of Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon?


Hey, toothless has a Valor tail to balance out the Defiant nose, in case nobody noticed.
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Old 27th Mar 2019, 21:19
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
I think back to the days of the Sikorsky ABC and XV-15 competition back in the 1980's.....each outfit had a lot to win or lose upon how the competition turned out.

Odd that Sultan continues bashing anything/everything Sikorsky but then we are used to his standard of posts.
A note: There was no competition between Sikorsky's S-69/XH-59 (ABC craft) and the XV-15. They were separate NASA research programs investigating new technologies for powered lift flight. As NASA programs, they weren't intended to lead to an operational aircraft. The XH-59 flew 106 hours between 1973 and 1981 and wasn't very successful. In 1982 it was proposed to modify the aircraft with new rotors, new engines and a pusher prop in a shared cost program with Sikorsky, but Sikorsky wasn't willing to put any of its own money into that,

The XV-15 first flew in 1977. It was much more successful, and was even flown at the Paris Air show. At the end of the planned tests, NASA planned to decommission it, but Bell leased it back and at their own expense flew it to expand the envelope, update some of the materials and components and demonstrate it to various military and civil agencies. This included a number of "guest" crew including military and civil pilots, personnel from various agencies and even members of Congress. It was also used to support procedures development for the V-22. Eventually, the airframe ran out of flight hours and was flown to the Smithsonian where it's now on display
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Old 27th Mar 2019, 22:40
  #23 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Commando Cody View Post
The XV-15 first flew in 1977. It was much more successful, and was even flown at the Paris Air show. ...,,,,, Eventually, the airframe ran out of flight hours and was flown to the Smithsonian where it's now on display
I actually knew the Bell mechanics who accompanied the XV-15 to DC to decommission it. Drain fluids, remove pyrotechnics, etc. The aircraft structures and drivetrains still had life left. It was the rotor blades that were at the end of their life.

One interesting side story on the decommissioning of the aircraft occurred after all the ceremonies were over. As part of the ceremony to inaugurate the aircraft into the museum, the museum had a group of key pilots and engineers from NASA and Bell sign the nose of the aircraft. The new Bell president nicknamed “Red”, who had only been at Bell a few months, and never worked for NASA or Bell took the liberty to sign his name on the nose of the aircraft in big letters. The man had literally nothing to do with the development of the XV-15, but he felt the need to add his name next to all those deserving people for posterity.

Of course when the aircraft was decommissioned the mechanics “accidentally” spilled solvent over just his signature and needed to wipe it off

Last edited by CTR; 27th Mar 2019 at 22:51.
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 03:33
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Cody,

The aircraft went to Fort Rucker and were "compared" even if not a formal competition but you know that those controlling purse strings and procurements were watching closely.

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Old 28th Mar 2019, 22:40
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by CTR View Post
One interesting side story on the decommissioning of the aircraft occurred after all the ceremonies were over. As part of the ceremony to inaugurate the aircraft into the museum, the museum had a group of key pilots and engineers from NASA and Bell sign the nose of the aircraft. The new Bell president nicknamed “Red”, who had only been at Bell a few months, and never worked for NASA or Bell took the liberty to sign his name on the nose of the aircraft in big letters. The man had literally nothing to do with the development of the XV-15, but he felt the need to add his name next to all those deserving people for posterity.

Of course when the aircraft was decommissioned the mechanics “accidentally” spilled solvent over just his signature and needed to wipe it off
Here is an X2 story on signed panels. At the end of the Elmira flight test program at Schweizer, the Florida guys were packing up the aircraft to take it south to do the envelope expansion. The Sikorsky crew chief was having all the Schweizer folks who worked the program sign one of the panels on the inside. I took my oldest over to show him the aircraft before it left. They gave me the sharpie so I could sign then they handed it to my 8 year old to sign it also. He didn't actually work on it at all though I did. Those signatures are in the Smithsonian now. The X2 is parked right next to the XV-15.
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 02:47
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Originally Posted by CTR View Post


I actually knew the Bell mechanics who accompanied the XV-15 to DC to decommission it. Drain fluids, remove pyrotechnics, etc. The aircraft structures and drivetrains still had life left. It was the rotor blades that were at the end of their life.

One interesting side story on the decommissioning of the aircraft occurred after all the ceremonies were over. As part of the ceremony to inaugurate the aircraft into the museum, the museum had a group of key pilots and engineers from NASA and Bell sign the nose of the aircraft. The new Bell president nicknamed “Red”, who had only been at Bell a few months, and never worked for NASA or Bell took the liberty to sign his name on the nose of the aircraft in big letters. The man had literally nothing to do with the development of the XV-15, but he felt the need to add his name next to all those deserving people for posterity.

Of course when the aircraft was decommissioned the mechanics “accidentally” spilled solvent over just his signature and needed to wipe it off
Touche. I forgot it was actually the proprotor blades.
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 03:14
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
Sultan, what do you mean by this?
Are you suggesting that Bell is currently in a position to go into the LRIP stage?
If I may venture a reply:

Bell had always said that they were building their JMR-TD demonstrator in such a way that they could go in a rapid manner to production if they weren't bound by the Army's glacial FVL-M schedule. Back in 2017 they were saying they could deliver (I can't remember if it was initial production or IOC) by 2024. Keep in mind that JMR-TD was not meant to result in a production contract.

Originally, both the demonstrators were to fly in 2017 and a one year demonstration phase was to follow. This phase was to be funded partly by the Government, but mostly by the manufacturers, with the carrot being that the manufacturers who flew in JMR-TD could be expected to have a leg up when the actual FVL-M competition started years later. Then next phase, starting in 2019 would be the Army spending a few years analyzing the JMR-TD results of the two concepts. Of courses ince Sikorsky's SB>1 was, as were all previous X2s, way late getting in the air that didn't happen.

In 2018 Bell basically accomplished all that was to demonstrated in JMR-TD. As late as December they were offering to take the V-280 beyond what was required for the TD phase and expand the envelope and produce more data, albeit with financial participation by the Army. In addition, they were talking about taking the V-280 at their own expense on a demonstration tour, similar to what was done with the XV-15.

I suspect that what's happening is that while there was much hoopla about the Army pressing forward with FVL-M which had the interest of all the services plus potential foreign sales, it seems lately that what the Army really wants to fund is FVL-Light, their latest attempt to replace the OH-58, a craft primarily of interest only to them. The requirements for this craft don't require anywhere near the advance that FVL-M does. Bell is saying that they can't ask their shareholders to keep funding an aircraft for a market that, no matter how successful, for which the Government is not all that anxious to develop. So, Bell is saying that without further government interest in moving on, since they've met the requirements for JMR-TD, they're going to stop flying the V-280 and put their money on something where there's a chance of a production contract in the foreseeable future. We may see Sikorsky fly the SB>1 the minimum they can just so people will not dismiss the technology out of hand and follow Bell's lead of going where the money is.

This would be too bad, and a great loss to the country.

IMO

Last edited by Commando Cody; 30th Mar 2019 at 06:18.
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 06:50
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Originally Posted by CTR View Post
Now there can finally be a competition between FVL demonstrators. Sultan exaggerated the Defiant schedule delay. First Flight was per DOD contract supposed to occur in the fall of 2017. So the Defiant is approximately 16 months late.

The hurdle for the SB>1 team now is completing all the FVL Key Performance Parameters by the end of this year, as required in the DOD contract. Based on the Sikorsky Raider still not having completed it’s flight test goals, there may not be adequate time for the Defiant. Especially if any more unpredicted problems occur.

Of of course the Army can always change the rules of the competition to give the Defiant a chance to catch up. Not very fair to the people at Bell and suppliers that busted their tails to keep their promises.

I predict a government announcement in the next couple months stating the Defiant will be given additional time to catch up with the Valor. The only question is how much time.



If I can be permitted to drone on:

There's no actual competition between these two demonstrators. Right now
they are part of the Joint MultiRole-Technology Demonstrator program.
That's a program to demonstrate advanced powered lift technologies
which could be used for a future program to actually produce an
operational aircraft. In the actual governmentspeak of the Army, "JMR-TD
is a demonstration of transformational vertical lift capabilities to
prepare the DoD for decisions regarding the replacement of the current
vertical lift fleet". It was going to require "Significant investment
by industry". Army looked at proposals from AVX, Bell Karem and
Sikosrky-Boeing and in 2013 chose the V-280 and SB>1 to proceed to the
demonstrator stage, while AVX and Karem received smaller contracts to
keep developing their technologies in the lab. Originally there were to
be two phases, one would be the air vehicle demo and the other would be
work to prepare to demonstrate missions system architecture. When the
actual competition took place, the winning air vehicle would be expected to
use whatever mission system won that competition,. I don't know if
they're following through with the Phase II demo.

Although the V-280 and SB>1 proposals were selected for JMR-TD flight
test, Army says what actually comes from the Future Vertical Lift-Medium
(FVL-M or FVL Capability Set 3) competition will not necessarily be
production versions of them. Frankly, though, it's thought they will
have a big advantage. Since FVL CS# is intended to replace at least the
UH-60, UH-1, AH-1 and maybe the AH-64, along with exports, that big a
potnetial market made industry willing to put up a lot of their own
money.

More governmentspeak: "The FVL acquisition program of record for
Capability Set 3 is utilizing the JMR TD knowledge base robustly in the
Analysis of Alternatives and acquisition planning". Bear with me, I'll
probably be a bit off in the following dates. The original plan was that
both demonstrators would fly in 2017. 2018 would see both aircraft
demonstrating their technology's capabilities, help Army determine how to
use aircraft with these advanced capabilities, what to look for in
an operational aircraft and develop datasets that wold be used in the
future FVL-M competition. 2019 and 2020 would be used to analyze the
data. Around 2020 an actual RFP for FVL-M is hoped to be issued refining the RFI
that was issued in 2016 based on what was learned in JMR-TD. That would
be the actual competition. There would expected to be a flyoff looking
to a contract award somewhere around 2024. Then would follow a prolonged
EMD period of eight years or so, culminating in an IOC somewhere between
2032-34, depending on who you ask and when.


There is some concern that with a schedule that long, other fiefdoms
will try and grab some of the FVL-M money for their own pet projects.
Also, with all the Congressional and Presidential elections before
IOC, it'll be hard to keep political support focused given that
politicians voting the money won't be able to point at something for which
they can claim credit in the next election for quite a while. OTOH,
the interest shown in FVL-M by all the services and potential foreign
operators will be a big help.

That plan, though, has been knocked a bit off course. Sikorsky's
repeated inability to get SB>1 into the air will at best force a delay
in the whole process, unless Army was willing to write the technology
off, and there would be too much lobbying going on that would prevent
that.

A bigger potential problem for FLRAA (Future Long Range Assault
Aircraft), Army's new name for FVL-M comes from the Army itself. In
recent times they've started beating the drums for and elevating the
priority for FARA (Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft), the new name
for FVL-Light. This will be the fifth attempt to field a replacement for the
OH-58, a requirement unique to the Army and which will not advance
capability or the technology nearly as much as FLRAA. An initial RFP has
already been issued, and up to six contracts are to be issued for the
next development stage in June. In March 2020 this will be cut down to
two bidders to participate in a flyoff in 2023. A contract award for a
program of record is planned for 2024, with IOC in 2028. Nowadays
that's blazing speed, and it's interesting how some of those dates
parallel what was originally hoped for for FLRAA. Where the money is
going to come from to support both programs without stretching one out
(guess which) is an unanswered question.

Hope I haven't bored everyone too much.

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Old 29th Mar 2019, 15:39
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From R&W:

The U.S. Army is itching to leave the demonstration phase and in 2019 launch its official competition for a high-speed, long-range Black Hawk replacement, according to service aviation officials.

If all goes as planned, 2019 could be the year Army aviation zeroes in on a future long-range assault aircraft (FLRAA) that eventually will replace the Black Hawk and see service with both the Navy and Marine Corps as well.
If true, it looks like the Army is returning to the original time line which makes the SB-1 of little relevance except to flag the ABC concept as higher risk with lower performance than realized by a tilt rotor design.. If the Navy and Marines really have input into the plan the final requirements will be heavily influenced by the V-280 test results which will exclude the ABC.
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 17:59
  #30 (permalink)  
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No “Formal” Competition

Originally Posted by Commando Cody View Post
If I can be permitted to drone on:

There's no actual competition between these two demonstrators. .
The only disagreement I have these thoughts is with the word “actual”. A better word might be “formal”.

Today’s article in Breaking Defense explains this better than I could. Comments at the end are interesting also.

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/03/...ents-in-weeks/
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Old 30th Mar 2019, 04:33
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Originally Posted by CTR View Post


The only disagreement I have these thoughts is with the word “actual”. A better word might be “formal”.

Today’s article in Breaking Defense explains this better than I could. Comments at the end are interesting also.

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/03/...ents-in-weeks/
I did read that article before my lengthy post. The key points here are that this is another RFI. RFIs are put out all the time. Army has put out multiple RFIs on FLRAA already, but there is still no identified date for an actual RFP. An RFP is where there's a real request for bids to produce/buy something real and where there's identified money. Also note that when and if there's an actual RFP, they want other companies involved, they specifically mention Karem. This indicates that there is a competition to come, not restricted to the JMR candidates. This is what Army always said would be the case. Still, the two JMR craft might be expected to have the inside track when and if a real compensation takes place. Got to love that govenmentspeak: "... the rest is really things that are pre-decisional that we have to socialize at echelon to make sure the team is ready to move forward.” In other words, 'We're not really doing anything yet, but we hope to".

I do find the statement, " “We know a lot about that lift-offset compound design already and it doesn’t necessarily need to fly as much...", quite interesting. X2 may be a great thing. But so far, all the vehicles for the last 40 years have been late, missed multiple announced deadlines, haven't flown all that much (example, either XV-15 30-40 years ago flew more hours that all the X2s combined. So have the AW609s) and except for showing that they can fly fast in a straight line, what of their promised performance breakthroughs have been shown? My point being not that X2 is bad, just that it's hard to say we know a lot about it. Possibly Army doesn't want to be perceived as limiting "competition", plus there are a lot of lobbyists who will go into overdrive if Army says, we want a variant of a technology with a lot of demonstrated applicability. This would mean Bell, with their Tilt-Rotors, Karem who is working on a variant of Tit-Rotor technology and AVX which is championing a coaxial compound that is much close to Kamov's concept, but more advanced.

My big worry remains that FLRAA will fade away as Army gets excited about their "proprietary" FARA. FARA actually has a real schedule, including a real RFP and identified money.

I do find the comments interesting and agree with most of them.
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Old 30th Mar 2019, 10:56
  #32 (permalink)  
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Dueling Prototypes

No disputes on the contract definition. Just describing how the development of the two aircraft plays out to the public. As is noted in the Breaking Defense article.

“Officially, what’s happening now is a technology demonstration, not a competition to see who builds an operational aircraft. But de facto, the Valor and Defiant have become dueling prototypes for the Black Hawk replacement. Rugen wants to officially start a competition.”

Sort of like two cars at a stop light reving their engines. Not really an official race.
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Old 30th Mar 2019, 11:45
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But just like some of those unofficial races that have a very nice wager to collect upon winning the competition!
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Old 31st Mar 2019, 07:17
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Originally Posted by CTR View Post
No disputes on the contract definition. Just describing how the development of the two aircraft plays out to the public. As is noted in the Breaking Defense article.

“Officially, what’s happening now is a technology demonstration, not a competition to see who builds an operational aircraft. But de facto, the Valor and Defiant have become dueling prototypes for the Black Hawk replacement. Rugen wants to officially start a competition.”

Sort of like two cars at a stop light reving their engines. Not really an official race.
What Rugen is describing is pretty much what was always planned for FVL-M. His statement about, " We know a lot about that lift-offset compound already..." doesn't make a lot of sense given X2's track record (or lack thereof) so far. We know a lot about what Sikorsky has been promising, but not much at all about whether they can actually do it. Given that all the X2s were late, only flew a few hours and have yet to demonstrate much except being quick on a straight course, it would be incredibly risky to think we know enough about X2 to compete now. That extra $20 million is nice, but Bell would probably use their share to take V-280 beyond what was required for JMR-TD (Bell offered to do that in late 2018-early 2019, while Sikorsky would use the money to attempt to get up to the JMR-TD requirements. Of course the gov't money already supplied was supposed to cover that.

It's sort of like two cars at a stop light, but one of them has repeatedly run the race before, while the other one has trouble keeping the engine running and has two flat tires.
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Old 31st Mar 2019, 07:19
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
But just like some of those unofficial races that have a very nice wager to collect upon winning the competition!
Again, given that Army is all hot to go with FARA, the old staying applies, "Show me the money".
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Old 1st Apr 2019, 00:30
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@Commander Cody: thanks for that.
and as for this
There is some concern that with a schedule that long, other fiefdoms will try and grab some of the FVL-M money for their own pet projects. Also, with all the Congressional and Presidential elections before IOC, it'll be hard to keep political support focused given that politicians voting the money won't be able to point at something for which they can claim credit in the next election for quite a while. OTOH, the interest shown in FVL-M by all the services and potential foreign operators will be a big help.
Yeah, funding grabs and Congressional "wisdom" like what brought us F-35. Part of the terrain, I guess. But it still grates on the nerves.
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Old 5th Apr 2019, 17:11
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Army Fast Tracks Assault Helo Requirements

/From Flight International:

The service is perhaps willing to pay more for its next rotorcraft because it is asking for a significantly higher level of performance. For example, the UH-60M has a maximum cruise speed of 151kt (280km/h), while the US Army wants its next utility rotorcraft to have a maximum cruise speed of 280kt (519km/h).

The US Army wants FLRAA to have an unrefueled combat radius of 300nm (556km) and a one-way unrefueled range of at least 2,440nm (4,519km).

These requirements along with a selection in two years pretty much eliminates the SB-1’s concept as it will never cruise at 280 knots, let alone the Marines wanting 330 knots, with all that drag. I also assume only a tilt rotor will mate the range requirement.

Full article:

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...rcraft-457256/




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Old 5th Apr 2019, 17:25
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Maiden Flight of Sikorsky-Boeing's Defiant Helicopter: Possibly Replace Black Hawk

Several companies are developing helicopters that could replace the U.S. Army’s aging Black Hawk fleet in the coming decades. One of those futuristic aircrafts, Sikorsky-Boeing’s Defiant, took its first test flight two weeks ago.

The Defiant is based on Sikorsky’s experimental X2 technology, which holds the record for being the fastest helicopter technology in the world. A demonstration craft reached 435 km/h in 2010, beating the 1986 record of 400 km/h by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

“The Defiant design represents a leap forward in vertical lift technology,” says Boeing spokesperson Randy Rotte. “While it can fly at nearly twice the speed and has twice the range of conventional helicopters, it retains the very best, if not better low-speed and hover performance of conventional helicopters.” The Black Hawk has a top speed of about 290 km/h and combat range of 580 km.The craft’s unconventional design consists of dual coaxial main rotors—two rigid rotors that spin around the same axis in opposite directions—and a push propeller in the rear.
https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/...r-first-flight
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Old 5th Apr 2019, 19:19
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But ... does it have MCAS?
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Old 8th Apr 2019, 10:46
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MPN

The S-97 had something like MCAS which apparently took control from the pilot resulting in a busted aircraft.
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