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V-280 wins US ARMY FLRAA contract

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V-280 wins US ARMY FLRAA contract

Old 6th Jan 2023, 18:24
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Originally Posted by SASless
What shall the protest be based upon?

Has Sikorsky provided test results that fairly demonstrate an advantage over the Bell offering?

If so....what are they?

If the basic goal is to replace a portion of the BlackHawk fleet, Blackhawks costing on the order of Twenty Million Dollars each these days......at what per Unit Cost?

If the cabin space and lift capacity is the same as for the Blackhawk....do the pro's outweigh the con's when costs. are factored in and shall budgets allow for the planned fleet sizes?

Have both aircraft conducted sling load testing to prove that capability and what effect does underslung loads have on airspeed capability?

What are the actual empty weights compared to design empty weights and as we all know.....every aircraft gets heavier over time as new requirements and equipment get added.

Does th 280 have the same autorotation issues as does the V-22?

Any autorotation issues with the Sikorsky concept?

The Army should be very careful in its analysis of the two very different concepts along with ensuring the planned strategy fits with the reality of warfare in wake of revelations from the Ukraine War.
By Ď...autorotation issues..í , do you mean that it canít autorotate & the crew / passengers just sit waiting for the impact?


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Old 6th Jan 2023, 18:29
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Originally Posted by soarbum
Another interesting bird! I see that it has 2 rotors on the tail rather than the ducted system on the speedhawk.


Does anyone know of a compound helicopter where the tail rotor itself articulates?
Yes, Sikorsky flew a modified S-61 called the S-61F that could add wings, jet pods, and a rotating tail rotor along with some aerodynamic cleanup. Sort of a precursor to the S-72 RSRA. They called the swiveling tail rotor ďRotopropĒ and demonstrated the possibilities on the S-61F. Downside of shoving a draggy helicopter through the air with a propeller is that it takes a lot of power, far more than a tail rotor normally consumes if you want to get well over 200 knots. On the X-2 aircraft, the propellor requires more horsepower than the main rotors do. So this swiveling prop adds a lot of weight to the very aft of the aircraft which hurts yaw inertia and moves your CG back. If itís part of a new design, this is all manageable.

I think the main issue is that a pusher propeller on a helicopter canít give you tiltrotor speeds and is a significant weight and cost penalty. Since a simpler winged helicopter can cruise near 200 knots and a tiltrotor rules at 250+ knots, there is only a narrow window where a thrust compound might be competitive. So far, that window doesnít appear to have been wide enough to result in a production aircraft.

Oh, Karem proposed a rotating prop/tail rotor solution for their FARA.
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Old 6th Jan 2023, 18:51
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I referenced some Bell patent drawings a couple weeks ago, one of which is posted below:


As you can see, the drivetrain arrangement of V-280 would appear to lend itself to an autorotation at least as well as a CH-47, maybe even better as there is no combining transmission in the drive line. Notice the drive shafts along the wing trailing edge (item 135) , they feed power to a gearbox (item 129) to a quill shaft driving the tilting gearbox (item 147).

Hereís a better view of the tilting gearbox:

on first glance this appears to be a pretty streamlined way of sharing power, similar to what we already see on conventional helicopters. Looks like the gearbox (item 129) has mounting provisions for generators and pumps etc.

Being skeptical of the V-280, I was actually pretty surprised at how simple this all looked. You can even see some of these actual components from to V-280 demonstrator in one of the Bell videos on YouTube.

I may be wrong but from my view, again as a skeptic, is that autorotation wonít be as big an issue as I thought. I feel like if V-280 really does enter service that the biggest adaptation will be regarding speed.
How long it will take aircrew (rated and non-rated) to not be ďbehind the aircraftĒ?

FltMech


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Old 6th Jan 2023, 19:09
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Another skeptic?
I thought I was alone in this cynicism!
It costs way more than a Blackhawk to buy , it’s way more complex mechanically & therefore will need more maintenance , it MIGHT be able to autorotate , it’s bigger & can’t get into the same restricted LZs / needs more hangar medivac space, the high purchase cost will likely curtail exports as only the US’ will be able to afford it...
But , it’s new & fast.
Seems somewhat overrated to me but then again , what do I know?!!
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Old 6th Jan 2023, 19:58
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Flug,

By ‘...autorotation issues..’ , do you mean that it can’t autorotate & the crew / passengers just sit waiting for the impact?
What I am referring to by asking that question is the situation that exists in the V-22 design where a successful helicopter style authoritative landing is not assured due to several design issues.

Tiltrotor aircraft are not helicopters and thus cannot be evaluated the same way as a helicopter.

Being a two engined aircraft with the capability of a single engine driving both proprotors the likelihood of the Osprey or 280 having need of such a autoroatative capability seems remote.

The question I posed is directed to the situation when a single remaining engine fails for some reason while the aircraft is in the "helicopter mode" (Rotors tilted upwards) and at a speed/height combination that does not allow for a transition to "airplane" mode.

The difference I see between the 280 and the 22 is the wing and engines on the 280 do not rotate but the proprotors do thus reducing the size of the envelope that presents that critical danger.

The V-22 design was driven by many factors that ultimately resulted in some degraded capabilities in power and performance when in the "helicopter" mode.

The 280 should benefit from the 22 program and be a better machine than its predecessor which was the first mass produced and operated Tiltrotor.


https://www.globalsecurity.org/milit...22-survive.htm

Last edited by SASless; 6th Jan 2023 at 20:53.
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Old 6th Jan 2023, 20:47
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I think itís an important point that while Iím a skeptic Iím not trying to fall the trap of ďthatís so dumb it will never work!Ē.

As others have said, the technology in vertical lift keeps getting better and better. My (hopefully!) healthy skepticism of this program is informed by years of working on the main frontline aircraft the US Army uses, each with strength and weaknesses, and seeing what I consider abject failure by the Army (UH-72, and soon, the CCAD welfare project that is the UH-60V).

Having said that, New stuff is hard, and Bell has demonstrated something new and it will be, IF it can do everything it claims, a great advancement for Army Aviation and the Air Assault doctrine. Thatís a fact. And as cynical as I am, and as hard as it is to say given the track record of the various services over the years, I think that not everyone involved in the flight evaluation of these competitors is a corrupt sellout. A lot of these issues that we are discussing here have been heavily evaluated by fellow aviators with pretty impressive professional experience.

After 3-4 schedule delays for initial operation capability and one or two billon $ of cost overruns we will find out if Iím right or wrong 🤣
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Old 6th Jan 2023, 21:52
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Originally Posted by Flugzeug A
Seems somewhat overrated to me but then again , what do I know?!!
Apparently, you don't know much about the V-22 Osprey. (Also fast, and expensive).
I consider abject failure by the Army (UH-72, and soon, the CCAD welfare project that is the UH-60V).
I was under the impression that the V is an attempt to back fit the glass cockpit and various systems upgrades into the L.
Can you expand on your disappointment as regards the L to V upgrade?
​​​​​​​(Didn't they do a lot of A to L upgrades over the years?)
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Old 6th Jan 2023, 22:35
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Originally Posted by 60FltMech
Having said that, New stuff is hard, and Bell has demonstrated something new and it will be, IF it can do everything it claims, a great advancement for Army Aviation and the Air Assault doctrine. Thatís a fact. And as cynical as I am, and as hard as it is to say given the track record of the various services over the years, I think that not everyone involved in the flight evaluation of these competitors is a corrupt sellout. A lot of these issues that we are discussing here have been heavily evaluated by fellow aviators with pretty impressive professional experience.
Itís worth noting that tiltrotors as a concept arenít new and the production V-280 would be following in the footsteps of the V-280 Tech Demonstrator, TR918 Deepwater UAV, 609 civil tiltrotor, TR911X Eagle Eye UAV, V-22 Osprey, XV-15, and the XV-3. Thatís 70 years of tiltrotor research and products by Bell, usually in collaboration with NASA or one of the military services. The basics of ďhow to design, operate, and fly a tiltrotorĒ are well established. As you highlighted, I think the bigger risks are schedule and budget related, not technical.
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Old 6th Jan 2023, 22:41
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Originally Posted by Flugzeug A
Another skeptic?
I thought I was alone in this cynicism!
It costs way more than a Blackhawk to buy , itís way more complex mechanically & therefore will need more maintenance , it MIGHT be able to autorotate , itís bigger & canít get into the same restricted LZs / needs more hangar medivac space, the high purchase cost will likely curtail exports as only the USí will be able to afford it...
But , itís new & fast.
Seems somewhat overrated to me but then again , what do I know?!!
A lot of the benefit is due to the much greater range and speedÖ these will allow for fewer aircraft to be needed and perhaps more importantly, fewer forward air bases in theater. Fewer FOBs is a smaller logistical footprint and all the compounded benefits that come from that. Longer range also means Army assaults in a Pacific theater is far more practical, something Black Hawks just canít do effectively no matter how cheap or simple they are. The V-280 is simply a much more capable vehicle.
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Old 7th Jan 2023, 00:57
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Originally Posted by SplineDrive

Oh, Karem proposed a rotating prop/tail rotor solution for their FARA.
Thanks for your enlightenment regarding the challenges and the lead re Karem. After watching the vid below, I'd think that I'd like to see the Karem proposal make the final two in FARA, politics permitting

Originally Posted by soarbum
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Old 7th Jan 2023, 01:41
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Originally Posted by SplineDrive
Thatís 70 years of tiltrotor research and products by Bell, usually in collaboration with NASA or one of the military services. The basics of ďhow to design, operate, and fly a tiltrotorĒ are well established. As you highlighted, I think the bigger risks are schedule and budget related, not technical.
Point taken regarding maturity of the technology, maybe it would better to say that the ďnewĒ thing here is a generational advancement of tilt rotor design.

fltmech
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Old 7th Jan 2023, 14:53
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Originally Posted by soarbum
Thanks for your enlightenment regarding the challenges and the lead re Karem. After watching the vid below, I'd think that I'd like to see the Karem proposal make the final two in FARA, politics permitting
The final two FARA competitors were chosen a few years ago. Bell is building the model 360 Invictus and Sikorsky is building the Raider-X. Karemís proposal hasnít gone anywhere.

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Old 7th Jan 2023, 16:52
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Along with the technical issues, some serious thought should be given to the strategy that is behind the "Need" for this aircraft.

Yes...going far quickly then being able to. land much as a helicopter does is fine if the rest of the forces can fulfill their roles.

The 280 is a Squad mover comparable to the Blackhawk it is to replace.

Moving Squads is nice....but how do you move Battalions along with the supporting arms that include artillery, mortars, vehicles, and supplies (food, water, ammo), and medical support?

Chinooks move more and will be in the mix....does the Army incorporate Air to Air Refueling for the Chinooks?

How about the Apache gunship support....it cannot keep up and does not have the legs to escort the 280.

If we are talking combat operations it is a combined arms operation and not an admin type transportation of troops.

We should look to how the Marines changed their operating methods when they fielded the Osprey to see how that combined arms thing works at the far end of the flight for the 280 if it is envisioned to be an "Air Assault" type attack.

We saw the 101st Airborne deploy a FARP to support the Apache attack deep behind Iraqi Lines (the one that ended disastrously for the Apaches).

That FARP required Chinooks, Blackhawks, and a lot of troops and equipment for defense of the FARP.

How does one do that in Pacific?

The Marines have settled upon a "Go Light" strategy and although with slightly different mission sets there are similarities between the anticipated Army mission and the Marines now that the Army is looking to Tiltrotor aircraft.

Then there is also Congressional Politics that shall. play a role in all of these planned acquisitions.

As said by one long serving member of Congress....."It is not about the Dollars....it is about the Zip Codes of where that money is spent.".
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Old 7th Jan 2023, 18:12
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Originally Posted by SplineDrive
The final two FARA competitors were chosen a few years ago. Bell is building the model 360 Invictus and Sikorsky is building the Raider-X. Karemís proposal hasnít gone anywhere.
Karem's proposal was always vaporware.
Originally Posted by SASless
Along with the technical issues, some serious thought should be given to the strategy that is behind the "Need" for this aircraft.
Yes...going far quickly then being able to. land much as a helicopter does is fine if the rest of the forces can fulfill their roles.
Something has to replace the Blackhawk, so they are looking ahead. Having seen what V-22 can do, Army is paying attention.

As to your question on Apache support, the Army has already re envisioned how Apache fits into the mix with the retirement of OH-58 Kiowa Warrior
Apache and RPV's are the combo platter. Your assumptions that Apache is needed near the LZ is erroneous. See also the current war in Ukraine if you doubt me.
FWIW: USN was exploring RPVs back in 1987 and previous. Head to a few posts by SpazSinbad in Mil Av forum where he links to Naval Aviation news from 1987.
How does one do that in Pacific?
You send the Marines.
Then there is also Congressional Politics that shall. play a role in all of these planned acquisitions.
As said by one long serving member of Congress....."It is not about the Dollars....it is about the Zip Codes of where that money is spent.".
Amen, Deacon. ​​​​​​​
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Old 7th Jan 2023, 20:33
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Lone,

"Proceedings" this month has some interesting articles that relate to this recent discussion about "future use" and strategy.

Opening page dices "SPY-6" radar technology and mentions Hypersonic Missile threats as Land to Sea missile technology has forced a change in the Navy/Marine Corps thinking on amphibious operations against a hostile shore.

The Marines have undergone a complete strategy change under General Berger's guidance that significantly alters conventional thinking by the Marines.

I found the article "Changing Geometry Of PLA Navy Carrier Ops" to be very informative about the growing capability and threat the PLAN is developing.

Additionally, the advent of the US Navy's Expeditionary Sea Base Ships at some point could play into the tactical use of the 280.

In the past the US Army has used leased civilian oil field support barges for covert operations in the Persian Gulf.

Guessing at a winning strategy with the rapid changes in technology is a difficult task these days.....let's hope the planners get it right.
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 04:32
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Originally Posted by SASless
Then there was this lovely Attack Helicopter that was way ahead of its time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_AH-56_Cheyenne

.

Problems with Cheyenne included that it was not as fast as it was hoped, was behind schedule and had vibration issues. Also, Army was thinking that agility was going to be more important than speed and that was emphasized in the follow-on AAH competition. One other significant factor was USAF's intense opposition to the Cheyenne program as they felt it infringed on "their" mission of Close Air Support.
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 04:36
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Originally Posted by soarbum
While reading about the engineering challenges and additional height associated with the Defiant X double rotor, I wondered to myself why they didn't go for a conventional main rotor and articulate the tail rotor (a bit like the Valor but horizontally) so that it could be configured like a standard heli at low speed but as a pusher at high speed. It would probably also require either one or two winglets to counter the effect of retreating blade stall at high forward airspeed. Just when I though to myself "Eureka", I of course found that something similar has been tried already.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piasecki_X-49_SpeedHawk
What worked against Speedhawk was that it turned out to offer no significant advantages (including speed, as it turns out) over a conventional helicopter and was a lot heavier.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 17:11
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Connecticut lawmakers demand more information on Army helicopter award

By Jen Judson and Bryant Harris
Feb 3, 07:04 AMWASHINGTON — The Connecticut delegation on Capitol Hill is pressing the U.S. Army for more information about its Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft award, even as the Government Accountability Office reviews the procurement.

Late last year, Texas-based Textron Bell beat out a team of Connecticut-based Sikorsky and Boeing for the deal to build the next-generation vertical-life aircraft. The program, the Army’s largest helicopter procurement decision in 40 years, is worth up to $1.3 billion and would replace roughly 2,000 Sikorsky-manufactured UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in the 2030 timeframe.
Sikorsky quickly filed a protest with the GAO over the decision.

On Jan. 12, the Connecticut delegation, which includes both senators and five House representatives, wrote to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth seeking a briefing on the selection.

The lawmakers wrote that Sikorsky’s bid for FLRAA “was significantly superior in terms of cost, but that due to a subjective unsatisfactory evaluation on a single criteria, Sikorsky’s bid was rejected and never fully evaluated.”
But the Army this week declined to discuss its decision with lawmakers, citing the protest period. (The GAO is slated to decide the case by April 7.)

In a letter sent to Connecticut lawmakers this week, Army acquisition chief Doug Bush said the service would “respectfully” decline the invitation to conduct a briefing “at this time.” Bush, in the letter obtained by Defense News, said the Army would be able to provide its rationale once the protest is resolved.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee whose Connecticut district includes Sikorsky’s headquarters, told Defense News she will “continue to push for” a briefing.

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted this week that he thinks the Army is choosing not to brief them because “the price difference between the affordable Sikorsky helicopter and the expensive Bell non-helicopter are enormous.”
He followed up with another tweet on Thursday: “FYI yesterday the Army denied Congress’s request for a briefing — for the 4th time. Is this because the price of the Bell helicopter is sky high compared to the Sikorsky bid? Why doesn’t the Army want Congress to know this?
Lockheed Martin and Boeing unveiled its offering to the U.S. Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft competition Jan. 25, 2021 -- calling it Defiant X. (Artistic rendering courtesy of Lockheed Martin and Boeing)

DeLauro and Murphy joined fellow Connecticut Democrats Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Reps. Joe Courtney, John Larson, Jim Himes and Jahana Hayes in signing the January letter.

In that document, they wrote that a pending GAO protest should not prevent the Army from meeting with lawmakers.

Courtney told Defense Newshis staff and the rest of Connecticut’s delegation are researching whether the Army has consistently chosen not to brief lawmakers during a protest period.
“This is something that needs to be protected information, but on the other hand, this is going to be one of the largest acquisition programs in the country for a long time and I think the request by members is legitimate,” he said.

Courtney said lawmakers want to discuss a variety of issues surrounding the decision, from cost to whether they can be maintained in existing depots.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger, DeLauro’s Republican counterpart, represents Fort Worth, where Bell is headquartered. Her office did not reply to Defense News’ request for comment.

https://www.defensenews.com/land/202...my-helo-award/


Asked about the deal, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Defense News he plans to “let all that play itself out,” but added that Bell holding onto its award “would be a good thing.”
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 17:29
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Originally Posted by Cyclic Hotline
Connecticut lawmakers demand more information on Army helicopter award
Sikorsky quickly filed a protest with the GAO over the decision.
On Jan. 12, the Connecticut delegation, which includes both senators and five House representatives, wrote to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth seeking a briefing on the selection. Ē
Gee, who saw that coming?
Everyone.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 05:03
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In the request for briefing they wrote:

Sikorsky’s bid for FLRAA “was significantly superior in terms of cost, but that due to a subjective unsatisfactory evaluation on a single criteria,
How could they possibly know any of this as they haven’t been briefed? Inspection of the two aircraft shows the simpler V-280 should, if anything, be lower cost than the more complex SB1. In one area that drives costs, the 280 has only 6 rotor blades while the SB-1 has 16 blades with similar cost per unit. If SB actually had a lower bid it was probably corrected by the govt based upon both Sik and Boeing’s cost overruns on current programs.

While the SB proposal may have been unsatisfactory in only one area (which is highly doubtful), it is clearly widely inferior by large margins, relative to the 280, in almost all categories including:

Maturity of design
Speed
Range
Comfort
Size (the 280 is close to the UH-60 while the SB1 is comparable to a Chinook)

In the end, the FLRAA has to be the one that has the longest range at a high enough speed to exploit that range to meet the anticipated primary missiion. The Army has determined that is the Bell offering.

Last edited by The Sultan; 4th Feb 2023 at 06:48.
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