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V-280 wins US ARMY FLRAA contract

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V-280 wins US ARMY FLRAA contract

Old 4th Feb 2023, 09:46
  #161 (permalink)  
 
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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.

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.".
you have a point re logistics ..anyhow Nightstalkers at Campbell been involved in MH-47 AAR for 3 and Half decades ……adapt their training manual to Rucker H-47 syllabus …

Realistically it probably will not happen due to budget ..

However, have AFSOC CV-22B that could help out if they not engaged on SOCOM missions or even have the Corps MV-22B and Navy CMV-22B at a Stretch .

cheers

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Old 4th Feb 2023, 12:07
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I am thinking more along the lines of how does the Army plan to provide Attack Helicopter support at the destination unless the landing area is known to be uncontested due to the absence of defending forces?

Can the Apaches be equipped for AAR?

Or will there be armed versions of the new aircraft with equivalent capability of the Apache?
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 12:17
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004, I think the point SAS was making was that the FVL ( and FARA ) speed requirement puts them way out in front of the logistical support helicopters that provide the necessary logistical support for combat. I.e., air assault vs a special ops mission.
One other thing that has me puzzled is a subject I’m a rank amateur at: to whatever standards were set up, the Army tested the Comanche re radar and IR detectability and as far as I know, it passed. Comanche main rotor is oriented edge on looking forward. Now the tilt rotor 280 has its blades ( propellers ) oriented with flat areas lookiing forward. Then again so does the V-22 so does radar cross section not matter?
But then again, Bell initially presented a smaller FARA sized tilt rotor idea, but since have reverted to the Comanche look-alike Invictus. Curious.



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Old 4th Feb 2023, 17:00
  #164 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
Apparently, you don't know much about the V-22 Osprey. (Also fast, and expensive).

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?)
Lonewolf,
sorry I missed your question somewhere along the lines re: UH-60V. I’m not personally disappointed in the program in itself, on its face it seemed like a good plan: Providing a cost effective aircraft with a modern cockpit configuration that is similar to UH-60M(notice I say “Similar”, the actual displays/processors are not the same as 60M, I haven’t read where they are interchangeable) the the National Guard and Medical Services Corps. Initially this was going to be 300-400 or so aircraft, now it’s ballooned to 600-700.

Having spoken to someone who was associated with the organization who is doing the “Upgrade” (CCAD) and has flown the 60V it is fully transparent that this program has a sole purpose of keeping people busy at CCAD until UH-60M Recapitalization starts(think of Recap as a service life extension) near term, and FLRAA enters service long term.

Consider the following: the recapitalization effort for converting 60A to 60L and then life cycle extension for UH-60L have been completed, the battle damage/crash damage lines are slowing due to the drawdown of Iraq and Afghanistan, and HH-60G overhaul for the US Air Force will draw down as new build HH-60W aircraft enter service. How else will you keep the H-60 line going in the interim?

CCAD doesn’t have the capacity they claim to produce the amount of UH-60V aircraft being talked about. They are simply buying time and the politicians are more than happy to help by throwing them a bone, instead of negotiating with Sikorsky over a new multi year contract to get more new UH-60M airframes that, while more expensive, are way more capable. The additional expense could possibly even be reduced doing this when combined with Foreign Military Sales aircraft.

The Army would also end up with a more common configuration in the fleet across the Active Army and National Guard/Reserves, thereby driving support costs down.

Just my $0.02 🤣
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 19:08
  #165 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 60FltMech
Lonewolf,
sorry I missed your question somewhere along the lines re: UH-60V.
I’m not personally disappointed in the program in itself, on its face it seemed like a good plan: Providing a cost effective aircraft with a modern cockpit configuration that is similar to UH-60M(notice I say “Similar”, the actual displays/processors are not the same as 60M, I haven’t read where they are interchangeable) the the National Guard and Medical Services Corps.
Initially this was going to be 300-400 or so aircraft, now it’s ballooned to 600-700.
I have a modest familiarity with the T-45A to T-45C mod that made that training aircraft a glass cockpit. Won't comment further.
Having spoken to someone who was associated with the organization who is doing the “Upgrade” (CCAD) and has flown the 60V it is fully transparent that this program has a sole purpose of keeping people busy at CCAD until UH-60M Recapitalization starts (think of Recap as a service life extension) near term.
The M transmission is the same as the L transmission, but is put under heavier loads in certain flight configs thanks to the wide chord blade. (I suspect you are familiar with the Hontek disaster). I am not sure what a SLEP would look like for a UH-60M. You had mentioned in the Invictus thread an interest in how much more the M can take (transmission wise) than the L.
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Now, if you throw the -901 engine onto the M or L, and the boost in horsepower, would you need to upgrade the input module and some of the gears in the Main Module?
Good question, that answer is doubtless being sorted out by a few of the ten pound brains up in Stratford. (Back in the 70s one of the guys I knew put a 327 into a Chevy Vega. Yeah, it had more power, but that car needed a few more mods to handle it ... )
Consider the following: the recapitalization effort for converting 60A to 60L
That's basically done.
and then life cycle extension for UH-60L have been completed,
Yeah, that's the V as far as I can tell
the battle damage/crash damage lines are slowing due to the drawdown of Iraq and Afghanistan,
Yes, the surge for that was met in some cases by hiring on contractor teams, not by boosting the GS/WG work force. (A decade or so ago IIRC Sikorsky had an airframes recap team in Beeville, TX that isn't there any more)
HH-60G overhaul for the US Air Force will draw down as new build HH-60W aircraft enter service.
That's the way to bet.
How else will you keep the H-60 line going in the interim?
I see your point about "keep the industrial base warm" by doing the upgrade, but there is also a training piece to that.
Training was a thing I was involved in quite a bit in the Navy, pilot training.
If your Blackhawk crews are all on steam gages, or all on glass cockpits, your training requirements for you total force will be different. Getting everyone on glass cockpits is a worthwhile goal.
As to cost, I am pretty sure that the burdened hour is still less in South Texas than it is in Connecticut. That may be another reason why they single site it.
​​​​​​​CCAD doesn’t have the capacity they claim to produce the amount of UH-60V aircraft being talked about. They are simply buying time and the politicians are more than happy to help by throwing them a bone, instead of negotiating with Sikorsky over a new multi year contract to get more new UH-60M airframes that, while more expensive, are way more capable.
I can recall a funny horror story about the US Navy wanting to remanufacture a bunch of SH-60's , B and F, into the SH-60R rather than buy new (China Copy, as it were) back in the 90's when there was no money for APN-1 programs.
A few years later ... that remanufacture project went the way of the plains buffalo and the 'buy new' was the way ahead.

Call me biased if you like: I'd prefer more new M's. However, someone crunching the numbers in the Pentagon money office may have shown a substantial benefit to the remanufacture program. Not privy to that info. You still have to deal with annual caps on new procurement (Acquisition rules and such) and the color of money for remanufacture is different than new procurement. Not all that easy to change colors of money.
​​​​​​​The additional expense could possibly even be reduced doing this when combined with Foreign Military Sales aircraft.
Depends on FMS levels, yeah.
I recall the CH-60S piggy backing on the UH-60L multi year in the 90's back when there was no/sparse money for anything new. That worked out in the end.
​​​​​​​The Army would also end up with a more common configuration in the fleet across the Active Army and National Guard/Reserves, thereby driving support costs down.
Long term, yes. Not going to argue. But when you look at the time horizons involved, someone will usually show up with "in the near term our budget dollars are less" and make a sound case for the Conversion/SLEP. Again, there are caps to budgeting and programming dollars in each fiscal year, and in the 2, 5, and 12 year time horizons.

FWIW, I think there are a dozen or so A models still hanging around, somewhere. I wonder if they are just too old to remanufacture into L's.

Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 4th Feb 2023 at 19:19.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 19:18
  #166 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JohnDixson
004, I think the point SAS was making was that the FVL ( and FARA ) speed requirement puts them way out in front of the logistical support helicopters that provide the necessary logistical support for combat. I.e., air assault vs a special ops mission.
One other thing that has me puzzled is a subject I’m a rank amateur at: to whatever standards were set up, the Army tested the Comanche re radar and IR detectability and as far as I know, it passed. Comanche main rotor is oriented edge on looking forward. Now the tilt rotor 280 has its blades ( propellers ) oriented with flat areas lookiing forward. Then again so does the V-22 so does radar cross section not matter?
But then again, Bell initially presented a smaller FARA sized tilt rotor idea, but since have reverted to the Comanche look-alike Invictus. Curious.
It is the FARA requirement of a 40’ width that kills a tiltrotor with the desired payload. With a 5’ separation between the rotors, that only gives you 481 sq ft of disk area. At 16 lb/sq ft that’s a GW of 7700 lb and at a V-22 like 27 lb/sq ft that’s a GW of 13,000 lb. I deeply suspect that with the desired payload, crew, fuel, 20 mm cannon and ammo, a tiltrotor would have weighed well over 13,000 lb and the design doesn’t close. If you push disk loading even higher, your lift per hp curve goes the wrong way and now you’re a twin engine aircraft, making the empty weight higher as well as required fuel. The Army was firm on a 40’ width and desired a single ITE and the way to get that is with a single main rotor (whether coaxial or not).

I can’t speak to RCS specifics, but the rotor blades on a tiltrotor shouldn’t be thought of as “flat” to an onlooker ahead of the aircraft. The airfoils still need a modest angle of attack with the airstream to produce thrust and the higher cruise speed and lower rotational speed at cruise means the collective is very high to achieve those conditions. So the blades are still largely edgewise to the viewer ahead of the aircraft. To a Doppler radar, the blades have a low change in speed since they’re rotating around an axis pointed to the viewer/radar ahead of the aircraft. A conventional helicopter has a large Doppler return off the rotor from all azimuths. I suspect that a tiltrotor and edgewise rotor helicopter are just “different” with respect to RCS and the specific radar system thread being evaded.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 19:30
  #167 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JohnDixson
004, One other thing that has me puzzled is a subject I’m a rank amateur at: to whatever standards were set up, the Army tested the Comanche re radar and IR detectability and as far as I know, it passed. Comanche main rotor is oriented edge on looking forward. Now the tilt rotor 280 has its blades ( propellers ) oriented with flat areas lookiing forward. Then again so does the V-22 so does radar cross section not matter?
But then again, Bell initially presented a smaller FARA sized tilt rotor idea, but since have reverted to the Comanche look-alike Invictus. Curious.
If you look at photos of the Osprey in cruise flight it is clear that the rotor blades are not "flat areas looking forward", as the highly twisted blades are themselves operating at a high pitch angle. The end result is the blade presents no flat area to the front in cruise flight with the root of the blade being edge on and the tip being around 45 degrees to the direction of travel. Thus the Osprey's rotor present a very stealthy "faceted" perspective to any radar in the frontal (or rear)arc.

Bell initially presented a smaller FARA sized tilt rotor idea, but since have reverted to the Comanche look-alike Invictus. Curious
Bell's initial LHX proposal was the BAT Bell BAT helicopter - development history, photos, technical data

Like the LHX before it, the FARA requirements were dumbed down enough to accommodate the short comings of the X-2 technology that a tilt rotor was not needed and, therefore, would be at a disadvantage due to cost/weight. It will be interesting to see if Sikorsky miscalculated and had the FARA requirements scaled back so much a more traditional helicopter could meet them.

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Old 6th Feb 2023, 14:38
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Spoiler
 
FWIW, I think there are a dozen or so A models still hanging around, somewhere. I wonder if they are just too old to remanufacture into L's.[/QUOTE]

I agree, somewhere someone is making the case for all of this to be sure, and I’m also sure local politics is playing a role in the decisions, hopefully not to the detriment of actual war fighting capabilities.

As far as A Models go, the last of them are being sold as part of the Blackhawk Exchange and Sales Team, they are being auctioned off through the GSA(as well as some L Models) and some A+ airframes were abandoned in Afghanistan.

The Airframe Condition Evaluation(ACE) team scores figure in to what gets divested and what gets a service life extension.

I’ve heard that the S-92 drivetrain was designed with an eye towards being available for a potential capability enhancement for the H-60M, would be interesting to see an “M+” configuration with the new S-92B main gearbox. MH-60M already flies with the heavy S-92A bifilar assembly.

Whatever happens there will be a lot of interesting new developments in US Army Aviation in the next decade for sure!

FltMech


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Old 6th Apr 2023, 19:33
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https://www.gao.gov/press-release/ga...%2C-b-421359.2

Looks like Bell won FLRAA… again.

In denying the protest, GAO concluded that the Army reasonably evaluated Sikorsky’s proposal as technically unacceptable because Sikorsky failed to provide the level of architectural detail required by the RFP. GAO also denied Sikorsky’s various allegations about the acceptability of Bell’s proposal, including the assertion that the agency’s evaluation violated the terms of the solicitation or applicable procurement law or regulation. Finally, GAO dismissed Sikorsky’s additional arguments on the basis that Sikorsky was no longer an interested party to further challenge the procurement.”
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Old 6th Apr 2023, 20:13
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If I interpret this correctly, SB was deemed non-compliant, even before the performance part of the evaluation, because SB didn't provide high enough fidelity information of the design. The lack of detail is not surprising as they probably couldn't supply it due to delays and shortfalls of the SB-1 demonstrator program. If it had made it past architecture evaluation phase the SB bid would have been found inferior relative to speed, range, size, and most likely cost.

I did like the slap down on no longer being an interested party.
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Old 6th Apr 2023, 23:30
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Now there will likely be an industry consolidation in the next few years. Boeing will likely be the one to go, all they have is assembly of a European helicopter in Philadelphia. All else is coming to an end.
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Old 7th Apr 2023, 01:13
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Boeing Philly will die, but slowly

Originally Posted by noneofyourbusiness
Now there will likely be an industry consolidation in the next few years. Boeing will likely be the one to go, all they have is assembly of a European helicopter in Philadelphia. All else is coming to an end.
With the Chinook and Apache continuing production, for at least another decade, Boeing Philadelphia will continue to survive. However, Boeing has already lost all their engineering capability to develop new modern platforms. So it will be a slow death until these aircraft are replaced by newer models designed by either Sikorsky or Bell. If Boeing is part of a team in a replacement Chinook or Apache aircraft, it will only be in a manufacturing role.
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Old 7th Apr 2023, 02:14
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Chinook production is on life support? 12 for Egypt, a few for special forces.
Also isn't the reworked Apache coming to an end?
"In October 2016, the Army revealed they would not pursue another Apache upgrade to focus on funding FVL; the Army will continue buying the Apache through the 2020s until Boeing's production line ends in 2026, then FVL is slated to come online in 2030"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_AH-64_Apache
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Old 7th Apr 2023, 02:20
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Originally Posted by noneofyourbusiness
Chinook production is on life support? 12 for Egypt, a few for special forces.
Also isn't the reworked Apache coming to an end?
"In October 2016, the Army revealed they would not pursue another Apache upgrade to focus on funding FVL; the Army will continue buying the Apache through the 2020s until Boeing's production line ends in 2026, then FVL is slated to come online in 2030"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_AH-64_Apache
In 2016, CS3 was still intended to have an attack variant to supplant the Apache. That disappeared after CS3 morphed into FLRAA.

That said, when FARA is canceled, they will buy more AH-64s
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Old 12th Apr 2023, 02:30
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Originally Posted by SansAnhedral
In 2016, CS3 was still intended to have an attack variant to supplant the Apache. That disappeared after CS3 morphed into FLRAA.

That said, when FARA is canceled, they will buy more AH-64s
Or add a 30mm cannon and lots of missile/ALE racks to a V-280 derivative. Is a slow Apache with two more weapons stations and more fuel really worth the investment?
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Old 13th Apr 2023, 15:11
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Originally Posted by SplineDrive
Or add a 30mm cannon and lots of missile/ALE racks to a V-280 derivative. Is a slow Apache with two more weapons stations and more fuel really worth the investment?
If the Army budget holds, FARA lives, Apache dies
After the current multi-year contract, there will be an eventual Apache replacement, way down the road. If the budget tightens, FARA dies, but no more Apaches will be purchased beyond what is currently planned. Same for the Black Hawk, it mostly dies after the current multi-year. The Bell FARA will work just fine. The Sikorsky FARA is uncertain, unproven.
The Army needs to spend its money on FLRAA and FARA, not on more Apaches or Chinooks.

Last edited by noneofyourbusiness; 13th Apr 2023 at 16:23.
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Old 14th Apr 2023, 15:38
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FMS

Originally Posted by noneofyourbusiness
The Army needs to spend its money on FLRAA and FARA, not on more Apaches or Chinooks.
I would amend your final statement to add “US” before Army.

My point earlier was, Boeing and Sikorsky will have many years of profit coming in from foreign military sales of Blackhawks, Chinooks, and Apaches. Many countries will never be able to afford a FLRAA, or a FARA.

Boeing Philly new product engineering capabilities however will continue to atrophy.

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Old 14th Apr 2023, 15:45
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ok, good point.
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Old 14th Apr 2023, 18:33
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Many countries will never be able to afford a FLRAA, or a FARA.
Can the US Army afford it if no foreign military sales are possible to help keep down the Unit Cost per Airframe?
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Old 14th Apr 2023, 19:56
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More on the decisions and the counter arguments

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...ct_source=pitc
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