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Sikorsky Raider X - FARA contender

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Sikorsky Raider X - FARA contender

Old 26th Jan 2020, 16:48
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JohnDixson View Post
You know, LW, going down that road has just a few former SA folks asking why then didnít SA simply ( airframe / drivetrain / rotors / power plant -wise ) simply update the RAH-66. Bell has to do development testing whereas the Comanche, aircraft wise, was developed.
Heh, I'll bite. I was a Comanche fan, and yet I always felt that the whole point of LHX had been lost with an aircraft that ended up with two pilots the way an Apache was put together. The Army at that point in time was not willing to risk going single pilot (and in so doing significantly reduce various weight bogies) and for a reason: the technical risk was not all on the airframe side, but was also on the mission equipment and systems integration side. (And let's recall how A-12, a big on risk APN-1 program, died in place).
Resurrecting Comanche would, IMO, fail. However, making a "baby Comanche" sized for a single pilot, and being able to use all of the now more mature tech for mission systems management, might have been a great idea. (USAF and USN returned to single pilot scheme with F-35, right?)
But all of that is "what might have been" thanks to the point mentioned further up: the Boeing factor.
I'll not comment on that further; the "twin primes" thing made me scratch my head a lot a couple of decades ago. I'm running out of scales on my skull to scratch.
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Old 26th Jan 2020, 19:31
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Well, LW,as usual, I concur with just about all of your comment and reasoning. Perhaps I would have added that Comanche would fail because it would inevitably lead the Army hierarchy to having to explain why they didnít shut down the goal post moving exercise with the tactical system and proceed. You will recall that there were repeated statements that the technology developed thru the Comanche program would be implemented in the other Army vertical lift programs. That never happened, thus the subject would be, you would think,a non-starter for resurrecting Comanche*.
AND, I would add the Bell 360,which with the 525 rotor and a 3000 SHP engine,is right on top of the original RAH-66 power/thrust wise**. Baby Comanche? No.
*An open question is whether the requirements specs for the FARA mission system have been agreed upon within the Army even now, and what the job split between FARA and drone will be?
**OK,the Comanche had 3126 SHP.
I was a Comanche fan as well,and the Boeing/Sikorsky relationship,as I observed in person in the flight test arena, went very well. The Comanche Flight Test Director was a Boeing man,Clarence Hutchinson, and he was simply the best. Only witnessed as a guest one Defiant flight, but there were Boeing folks side by side with SA folks in the telemetry rooms and seemed like all was going like I used to see on the RAH-66.
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Old 26th Jan 2020, 21:30
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Comanche fans conviently forget the $42m mass produced unit cost in 2002 dollars. What killed it was no one could afford it.
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Old 26th Jan 2020, 22:07
  #24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by JohnDixson View Post
Boeing/Sikorsky relationship,as I observed in person in the flight test arena...,66.
I have been teamed with Boeing Vertol on four different projects. I also spent a decade employed at Boeing St Louis. As individual engineers in the trenches trying to get a project done, I enjoyed working with Boeing Philly personnel. However their upper management is quite often egotistical, and individual career driven. This is not only the opinion of engineers at different companies Boeing Philly has teamed with, but also other Boeing engineers from St. Louis, Mesa, and Seattle.

I think youíll agree, flight test is a different environment than development engineering.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 02:06
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CTR, I retired in Jan.2005,thus my frame of reference is 15 years old as of this month,and I’d be the first to agree that changes in the CEO and VP ENGR etc positions can have major impacts in a very short time upon the operational ends of the company. Good or bad.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 10:44
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by The Sultan View Post
Comanche fans conviently forget the $42m mass produced unit cost in 2002 dollars. What killed it was no one could afford it.
You point out something which should be highlighted for the FARA competitors, affordability matters.
However, the current designs don't seem to share this perspective.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 12:55
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Etudiant

Unit cost should be a major driver in the FARA selection process. Hopefully the govt will factor in past company performance on meeting cost targets to avoid another Comanche or CH-53K.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 16:12
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The real shame is the completely arbitrary hard requirement of a 40 foot rotor, presumably due to the idea of flying through urban canyons or other such nonsense.

Had this attribute been relaxed, the true best value proposition would have been a small tandem tiltrotor, which would carry all the same benefits of the FLRAA long range/self-deploy of the V-280.

There were numerous design studies from the 80s LHX days done by Bell that seemed to indicate this was a totally feasible option.

(Also note, it does appear that on both FARA and FLRAA that the Army dropped the 6k95 hover requirement to 4k95)
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 16:47
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Small diameter tandem tiltrotor....
Like this one?

Enter the Curtiss Wright X-19.

Curtiss Wright X-19
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 17:57
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by tottigol View Post
Small diameter tandem tiltrotor....
Like this one?
tandem seating


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Old 28th Jan 2020, 12:49
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by The Sultan View Post
Comanche fans conviently forget the $42m mass produced unit cost in 2002 dollars. What killed it was no one could afford it.
V-22 fans should note the price tag.
F-35 fans should note the price tag.
Welcome to the 21st century, Sultan, where the next iteration of tech/pushing the edges is bloody expensive.
Someone has decided that helicopters need to be fast. Speed has never been the primary niche that helicopters are known for; see physics for why that is so.
Hence tilt rotor.
If you can afford it.
(Hello 609, how are you doing?)

What I like about Invictus is that it is a helicopter: not every weapons system that you employ needs to be bleeding edge.
See OH-58 for a very nice example of that
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Old 1st Feb 2020, 11:26
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
Welcome to the 21st century, Sultan, where the next iteration of tech/pushing the edges is bloody expensive.
Someone has decided that helicopters need to be fast. Speed has never been the primary niche that helicopters are known for; see physics for why that is so.
The point was that in 2002 the Comanche was already as expensive as the V-22 and F-35 were expected to be and really no longer had a mission the OH-58D was not better suited for (desert and urban warfare in low tech environment).
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Old 1st Feb 2020, 11:30
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Interesting to see Sikorsky hired the 525 Chief Engineer to be the new FARA chief. While an excellent choice, not a big vote of confidence in the existing team.
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Old 1st Feb 2020, 11:48
  #34 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by The Sultan View Post
Interesting to see Sikorsky hired the 525 Chief Engineer to be the new FARA chief. While an excellent choice, not a big vote of confidence in the existing team.
Bell lost a great engineer, and I predict the poaching is far from over. Bell, Boeing, and Sikorsky have a long tradition of cross pollination. Bell would most likely never have become an industry leader in FBW rotorcraft without the influence of Nick Lapposís tenure at Bell.
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Old 1st Feb 2020, 12:11
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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CTR

Bellís FBW expertise came out of the V-22 and 609 which fed into the 525. Nick Lappos had nothing to do with these programs.
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Old 1st Feb 2020, 13:42
  #36 (permalink)  
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A Short History on Bell FBW

Originally Posted by The Sultan View Post
CTR

Bell’s FBW expertise came out of the V-22 and 609 which fed into the 525. Nick Lappos had nothing to do with these programs.
Sultan, never believe what you have heard second or third hand. Or even what Bell’s PR promotes. These are the facts from someone involved firsthand on the V-22, 609, 525, and V-280 programs.

Bell was not lead on the V-22 flight controls, they were relegated to a supporting position. Boeing was primarily responsible for the V-22 flight control systems. The only flight controls area where Bell was close to being the lead was HQ and control laws.

Originally, the 609 flight control system was Boeing’s responsibility, the same split as on the V-22. There is very little in common between the flight control systems used in the V-22 and the 609. This was a necessary because the V-22 system was not only way too costly, it was also not FAA certifiable. The 609 flight controls required a clean sheet approach.

When Boeing backed out of the 609 and dumped responsibility for the flight control systems on Bell engineers, they rapidly realized they had been “sold down the river”. One Boeing supplier even told Bell that in response to Boeing’s request for proposal that a critical spec performance requirement “Defied the laws of known physics”. Boeing's response was, “we’ll work that out in negotiations”. This was a primary reason for the long delay in first flight of the 609. But it also allowed Bell engineers time to almost completely redesign every Boeing part and line of code.

Before Nick Lappos came to Bell, engineering was being lead by an ex-Boeing Vertol manager. This new VP of engineering told the Bell flight controls group that Bell would not do a commercial FBW product as long as he was in charge. Under his direction (what soon will be world's first civil certified fly by wire helicopter) would have been a warmed over Bell 412. Originally the 525 started off using the auto pilot and stability augmentation from a Bell 429. It was at this point in time, Bell started to hemorrhage flight control engineering talent to Sikorsky and other aerospace companies.

It is only when Nick Lappos arrived at Bell did the future course of the company change for the better. Nick went directly to the head of Textron and pushed for the 525 to be FBW. Nick also encouraged the flight control engineers to think out of the box and come up with novel solutions. Finally, despite Nick’s desire to develop an all new flight control system, Nick listened to his engineers when they told him they could adapt the (now Bell Design) 609 flight control system to do the job. And do it better than any supplier proposed new system. They also could do it cheaper and to a shorter schedule than anyone else. This is why Bell still has a fly by wire fly control systems group.

When Bell was originally teamed with Boeing on the V-280, Boeing presumed that the split would be the same as the V-22, and they would get the flight control systems lead. By this date, Nick had already left Bell. But in his short time with Bell he had completely turned around the flight control system group capability, he had also reenergized the belief Bell could do it alone. From what I’ve been told, some of the flight controls engineers at Bell cheered and danced when they were informed they would get the opportunity to design the V-280 flight controls without Boeing.

Now you know the whole story, firsthand.

Last edited by CTR; 1st Feb 2020 at 20:32. Reason: Typo
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Old 1st Feb 2020, 23:51
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Originally Posted by The Sultan View Post
Interesting to see Sikorsky hired the 525 Chief Engineer to be the new FARA chief. While an excellent choice, not a big vote of confidence in the existing team.
I wonder if he has any idea what heís walking into? Aside from the aircraft itself, if heís working from the Fort Worth office, he has a tough road ahead when it comes to directing work in CT.
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 13:35
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Originally Posted by CTR View Post
When Bell was originally teamed with Boeing on the V-280, Boeing presumed that the split would be the same as the V-22, and they would get the flight control systems lead. By this date, Nick had already left Bell. But in his short time with Bell he had completely turned around the flight control system group capability, he had also reenergized the belief Bell could do it alone. From what Iíve been told, some of the flight controls engineers at Bell cheered and danced when they were informed they would get the opportunity to design the V-280 flight controls without Boeing.
Actually, the desired work split by Boeing on V280 also included the entirety of the rotors as well. There was a laughable public mentality at the time of the SB1 Sikorsky-Boeing teaming announcement that it meant "Boeing had decided that the compound coax was a better platform than tiltrotor". The reality was that Bell was astute enough (that time, versus Osprey) to break it off and avoid the trap of allowing Boeing control over rotors, which not only would open the door to a Boeing-only tiltrotor in the future, but also run the risk of them completely dropping the ball just like they did with Sikorsky on Defiant.

In the rotorcraft industry, there has always been much rejoicing across all disciplines whenever engineers are instructed not to team with Boeing.
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 14:19
  #39 (permalink)  
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Boeing: Good Engineers, Bad Management

Originally Posted by SansAnhedral View Post
In the rotorcraft industry, there has always been much rejoicing across all disciplines whenever engineers are instructed not to team with Boeing.
Just to be clear. Personally I like Boeing Vertol engineers. It is their management I find lacking.

I didnít know that Boeing had asked for responsibility for the rotors in the V-280 original work split. But it does not surprise me.

A few months after Boeing broke off from Bell teaming on the V-280, but before they announced teaming with Sikorsky, Bell contacted Boeing to see if they would like to build the V-280 fuselage under contract to Bell. Boeing had the audacity to tell Bell that they would only build the fuselage if they were given responsibility for the V-280 flight control systems also.


Last edited by CTR; 3rd Feb 2020 at 14:20. Reason: Grammar
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Old 20th Feb 2020, 02:40
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It was expensive, but it was far more than your average helicopter. Low Observability was one area, but actually the NBC threat (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) drove the design to pressurized cockpit with a very complicated Environmental Control System. The Computers, FCC and MEP- Mission Equipment Packages, although state of the art then, were expensive and heavy. Turn the air vehicle design back on without those constraints, with updated and simplified FBW controls, and it would be obvious that the cost would drop. But then back to the speed question, what premium is on the speed?... where does the requirement drive the design? Since Army owns the comanche data, surely they considered such options.
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