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Bell 360 Invictus readies for flight but still no engine

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Bell 360 Invictus readies for flight but still no engine

Old 3rd Feb 2023, 09:37
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Bell 360 Invictus readies for flight but still no engine

Larger Article with pretty pictures of it.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...-has-no-engine

Bell’s 360 Invictus prototype has been disassembled, trucked from Amarillo to Fort Worth, Texas, and is being put back together in preparation for ground runs and a first flight this year, if all goes to plan.

The company’s pitch for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Recon Aircraft, or FARA, is 95 percent complete and awaiting the GE T901 Improved Turbine Engine so it can begin ground runs ahead of a planned takeoff sometime in 2023. The engine is being developed by another Army office within the Future Vertical Lift effort.

When The War Zone was given a glimpse of Invictus on Jan. 27 it didn’t look 95 percent complete, because it was being reassembled in the company’s hangar in Fort Worth. Many side panels were removed, revealing wiring and other internal components. Very apparent were bright orange wiring and boxes used for instrumentation only during testing and will not be included in the final production aircraft if it gets chosen by the Army.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 16:39
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Thanks for the update.
I was interested to see that there is a plan to retrofit the GE T901 into the Blackhawk and Apache to replace T700's.
What are the odds GE meets its milestones and can get the engine delivered sometime in the spring so that Invictus can begin some 'power on' testing?
Betting lines are now open ...
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 17:12
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
Thanks for the update.
I was interested to see that there is a plan to retrofit the GE T901 into the Blackhawk and Apache to replace T700's.
What are the odds GE meets its milestones and can get the engine delivered sometime in the spring so that Invictus can begin some 'power on' testing?
Betting lines are now open ...
Retrofits to the H-60 and AH-64 were the original point of the ITE program that the T901 won. The ITE program started long before FARA was a program.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 18:03
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Originally Posted by SplineDrive View Post
Retrofits to the H-60 and AH-64 were the original point of the ITE program that the T901 won. The ITE program started long before FARA was a program.
Good to know. I suppose that HP increase / fuel flow decrease target has been a bugger to achieve.
With 3000 HP, on a Blackhawk, the single engine hover chart becomes a lot more forgiving.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 20:54
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It will be interesting to see how the OEM’s design teams react to the 901, bringing a 100% increase in SHP from their original power plants. Beyond the hot/high envelope obvious gains, I’d look for the OEM’s to upgrade the drive trains and rotors to take full advantage of the new engines. Actually, it would be surprising if they both don’t have preliminary designs for these areas already in place, and have had them for awhile!
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 21:33
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Originally Posted by JohnDixson View Post
It will be interesting to see how the OEMís design teams react to the 901, bringing a 100% increase in SHP from their original power plants. Beyond the hot/high envelope obvious gains, Iíd look for the OEMís to upgrade the drive trains and rotors to take full advantage of the new engines. Actually, it would be surprising if they both donít have preliminary designs for these areas already in place, and have had them for awhile!
Indeed, Iím sure they do. I expect that a fair bit of the new capability will be used to install and haul mission equipment packages that simply didnít exist in the 1970ís and have been eating into payload and performance margins for years. The improved fuel burn will be as welcome as anything elseÖ ďfreeĒ range and time on station.
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Old 4th Feb 2023, 17:25
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Originally Posted by JohnDixson View Post
It will be interesting to see how the OEMís design teams react to the 901, bringing a 100% increase in SHP from their original power plants. Beyond the hot/high envelope obvious gains, Iíd look for the OEMís to upgrade the drive trains and rotors to take full advantage of the new engines. Actually, it would be surprising if they both donít have preliminary designs for these areas already in place, and have had them for awhile!
John,
Iíve been meaning to ask you: do you know how much power throughput the current UH-60M transmission can take? Ever since talk began about the power of the ITEP/T901 Iíve wondered if all of that power would be available without limitations or if it would be like the case if the UH-60A+ with 701C/D engines and torque limitations would apply due to the transmission?


FltMech
p.s. Hope the weather improved down your way and you were able to get some golf in today!

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Old 6th Feb 2023, 14:15
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The MH-60M with the CT7-8B5 is in the 2600 shp range.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 15:15
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With the straight T-700 401C or 701C providing about 2000 HP
(as I read the GE brochure, that's 1900+ at contingency power, 1800+ for 30 minutes)
a boost to 2600 HP would potentially work the transmission harder.
With a boost to 3000 HP in the 901 - yes, I think you'd want a beefier transmission.
(And maybe you'd need to refigure the loads on the hub)
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 17:55
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It looks great but Single Engine armed aerial scout in 2025-2030Ö. Must be a joke. One single AK round and the thing is on the ground! 🤔
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Old 15th Mar 2023, 19:47
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Another Year Delay for FARA

Well, another year slip in the engine announced. Puts the whole program on the chopping block.

https://www.defensenews.com/industry...another-delay/
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Old 16th Mar 2023, 01:31
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One single AK round and the thing is on the ground
Just like the Spitfire, Hurricane, or any other single engine airborne conveyance, it's a possibility depending on where that single round hits, engine oil cooler or the gunners backside while seated on the floor, experienced both.
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Old 16th Mar 2023, 15:23
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Point taken on vulnerability, although the OH-58D took more of a beating than you would imagine. One MTP I flew with had picture of one from Iraq that had two Main rotor pitch links shot through with 7.62mm (among many other things!), and the crew made a safe, normal landing at their base field.

Of course that was a much simpler machine. As airframes got battle damaged the Army even started refurbishing stripped fuselages at the Army Depot and classifying them as spare parts, just swap in the good parts and data plate and good to go!🤣

FltMech
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Old 17th Mar 2023, 01:35
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60FM, LW, Megan, Caspar, it seems to me I recall some conversations from the distant past re putting the 92 box and drive on the Hawk. 2 degrees different shaft tilt, but that can be managed. Makes the bigger GE engines candidate power plants. Conversation mentioned the 92 tail rotor as well. All good to go and flight qualified. All it needs is a decision to go. A couple of other no-brainer mods would attend these few, and it would/should leave some folks in the higher echelons wondering if all that money for the speed will be worth it. Just thinking about what-ifs.
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Old 17th Mar 2023, 14:13
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Originally Posted by JohnDixson View Post
60FM, LW, Megan, Caspar, it seems to me I recall some conversations from the distant past re putting the 92 box and drive on the Hawk. 2 degrees different shaft tilt, but that can be managed. Makes the bigger GE engines candidate power plants. Conversation mentioned the 92 tail rotor as well. All good to go and flight qualified. All it needs is a decision to go. A couple of other no-brainer mods would attend these few, and it would/should leave some folks in the higher echelons wondering if all that money for the speed will be worth it. Just thinking about what-ifs.
A drop in update to the Hawk is no longer as simple as originally envisioned and I suspect an update to the H-60 with T901 engines would involve a new design transmission for the H-60, modded MR blades and modded tail rotor blades rather than use modified S-92 parts. In any case, if the Army is basing it's future strategy on fewer bases much further apart, I'm not sure the increased range of a H-60 "Block II" with these mods suits their needs. Without an increase in speed, longer range is just slower response time. It's a fair question, then, how FARA fits into this as the range/speed of either competitor isn't a good match for FLRAA.
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Old 17th Mar 2023, 17:33
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SD-good question re the transmission, but remember, the S92 transmission layout is the same as the UH-60. As I may have mentioned, backfitting drive components was part of the 92 strategy ( as in, thats why the 92 has 4 instead of 5 main blades for instance-a number of us did not prevail in that discussion ), thus the 92 box, other than the shaft tilt, is backfittable and has the advantage of standing the primary servos up vertically ( or almost ) thus getting rid of all the heavy iron carrying control loads from the swashplate to the horizontal primary servos on the UH-60. The 92 main box cannot handle all the sea level power of the 901, but flat rating it for hot/high was in the plan for the 901 for Apache and Hawk anyway, or at last I think it was (?). However this all works out, the AH-64 and UH-60 pilots are going to be smiling.
SD-your point re the FARA/FLRAA speed/range differences to these two machines, not to mention the CH-47 as well, presents a thorny question in senior Army Aviation circles, one might expect.
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Old 17th Mar 2023, 17:54
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John, after a raft of S-92 gearboxes cracked at the joint to the airframe, I'm not sure they're easily retrofittable to the H-60 any more once fixes were implemented. In any case, reacting the S-92's head moment on the same bolt pattern as an H-60 hasn't been without problems. I suspect the same would be true for the TGB. Physically pinning up is just one part of compatibility with a new airframe.
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Old 17th Mar 2023, 18:30
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SD: Was not aware of that history and your observation seems sound. Appreciate the information. Another aspect of your news is that of course, the usage, that is to say, the maneuver spectrum of the S-70 Army version is different than the usage/maneuver spectrum of the S-92 ( at least I’d certainly assume so ) and this would add to the decisioning re application of the 92 rotor/gearbox to an upgraded Army S-70. I’d not be surprised if those conversations might have already occurred-the interesting part will be about what action results. Good discussion.
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Old 17th Mar 2023, 18:37
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60FltMech-re the 60M model main box ratings: I don’t think they have changed from the 3400 shp box in the L, that is, dual engine continuous 100% above 80 KIAS, 120% below 80 KIAS. 100% is 2800 shp/120% is 3400. Sent a note to the M project pilot, who s retired like me and will get back when I can.
Apologize for being tardy with a response.
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Old 20th Mar 2023, 21:26
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Originally Posted by JohnDixson View Post
60FltMech-re the 60M model main box ratings: I donít think they have changed from the 3400 shp box in the L, that is, dual engine continuous 100% above 80 KIAS, 120% below 80 KIAS. 100% is 2800 shp/120% is 3400. Sent a note to the M project pilot, who s retired like me and will get back when I can.
Apologize for being tardy with a response.
Do the MH-60M with the CT7-8B5 use the same gearbox as the L's?
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