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-   -   Sikorsky SB-1 flies for first time (https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/619699-sikorsky-sb-1-flies-first-time.html)

Commando Cody 11th Mar 2021 06:24

Any day now, I expect the SB>1 team to excitedly put out a press release that proudly proclaims as one of their accomplishments in the two years since their first flight that their vehicle has required far less fuel than the V-280.

Commando Cody 11th Mar 2021 06:33


Originally Posted by henra (Post 10961621)
The mission isn't going away but the question remains if they are not too expensive/complex, too big and too fragile for the mission.
The big plus of the Blackhawk for this mission is that it is extremely rugged, rather nimble and small and not excessively complex and expensive. Almost the opposite of the new vertical lift high speed platforms. The most dangerous phase for the helicopter in combat has historically been the landing/de- boarding phase. And that is the phase where especially the valor is a huuuuge and beautiful target with lots of critical parts widely spread and is also rather limited in its agility and descent rate compared to the nimble Blackhawk. I'm not really convinced that they are not going to cancel the current bid. For certain special missions the new platforms surely offer very interesting possibilities but I have a hard time to figure them as real replacement for the rugged 'bread and butter' combat mule that is the Blackhwak.

One of the requirements for FLRAA is that the aircraft has to to be able to fit the same number of their craft into a given space as the UH-60.. Both competitors meet this requirement. Another is that they have to meet the agility requirement. In some areas V-280 has already demonstrated that it exceeds thisrequirement. I don't know about SB>1 yet.

Commando Cody 13th Mar 2021 05:11

FWIW, here's a comparison of the footprint of the V-280 vs. UH-60


https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....095f2b39fe.jpg

CTR 17th Mar 2021 02:22

Isnít Time Running Out?
 
The FLRAA RFP responses are due in less than three months. Isnít time running out for the SB>1 to prove it can meet the US Army threshold requirements?

Commando Cody 19th Mar 2021 05:00


Originally Posted by CTR (Post 11010287)
The FLRAA RFP responses are due in less than three months. Isnít time running out for the SB>1 to prove it can meet the US Army threshold requirements?

For some reason, Army has been going through all kinds of gyrations to keep Lockheed & Boeing in the competition despite its consistently disappointing performance (although they do get points for creative press releases). SB>1 was built for the "technology demonstration" phase. One wonders, in the two years since its [delayed] first flight and having only flown ~26 hours how much technology has actually been demonstrated The next phase is "risk reduction". This is what Defiant-X is being touted for, After that comes the competition to actually go to production.

I guess they're not going to do that much more with the SB>1 airframe. The consensus here seems to be that it'll never reach its promised speeds. I don't know, but then again S-97 Raider (to be replaced by "Raider-X") never reached its promised speed, either. I wonder if Army is thinking that if they don't have two "competitors" regardless of how they're doing, Congress, not paying attention as usual, will complain about the lack of competition and that could hurt funding.

CTR 19th Mar 2021 14:14


Originally Posted by Commando Cody (Post 11011809)
....The next phase is "risk reduction". This is what Defiant-X is being touted for, After that comes the competition to actually go to production....

I didnít think it was going to be another competition of flight demonstrators. Isnít the next competition phase just a proposal?

etudiant 19th Mar 2021 17:06


Originally Posted by CTR (Post 11010287)
The FLRAA RFP responses are due in less than three months. Isnít time running out for the SB>1 to prove it can meet the US Army threshold requirements?

Apart from some US Army bureaucrats, I don't think anyone cares.
The Biden administration is trying to come up with a coherent approach to China without breaking too many eggs. It is obvious the Afghanistan withdrawal will be prelude to a mess at best.
After the very public failure in this small arena, no one can trust the Pentagon claims about their strategy for deterring China.
The US needs a 'come to Jesus' moment, to admit they have not won a war in 75 years and that more of the same will only stretch that string to a century or more.
Hopefully the Biden team will catch on before the NATO allies do.

Commando Cody 19th Mar 2021 19:12


Originally Posted by CTR (Post 11012147)
I didn’t think it was going to be another competition of flight demonstrators. Isn’t the next competition phase just a proposal?

The phase they''ve been in for the past year is the Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction, for which Bell got $84 million and Sikorsky got $97 million, which will “include initial conceptual designs, requirements feasibility and trade studies using model based systems engineering", In other words, they are spending almost as much time analyzing the data they got from the JMR-TD phase (in which SB>! barely flew) as the entire length of that first phase! "Ultimately, this information and industry feedback are vital to understanding the performance, cost, affordability, schedule risks and trades needed to successfully execute the FLRAA program". This will, “will inform the refinement of the capability requirements, system performance specification and identify risk areas.” Translation: "We're going to push lots of paper so we don't get protested too much". Not sure if there will be any required flying during this phase. Frankly, though, unless they can get some serious flying in, even at their own expense, I don't see how the selection could go to Sikorsky-Boeing

After this phase comes the actual request for Best and Final Offers and selection scheduled (for now) in 2022. Then there will be more design reviews, and reviews, until delivery of the prototype of the winning design in 2025, and delivery to the first Army unit in 2030. No I don't know why the Army wants it to take so long.

SplineDrive 22nd Mar 2021 12:12


Originally Posted by Commando Cody (Post 11012298)
After this phase comes the actual request for Best and Final Offers and selection scheduled (for now) in 2022. Then there will be more design reviews, and reviews, until delivery of the prototype of the winning design in 2025, and delivery to the first Army unit in 2030. No I don't know why the Army wants it to take so long.

I think the Army sees keeping both V-280 and SB>1 funded during the current concept development and risk reduction phases as political cover and investment to make sure no one can protest that it wasn't a good competition when V-280 is chosen next year, despite Bell not being the incumbent VTOL supplier for the Army. Next year will be crucial for the X-2 concept... I'm assuming SB>1/Defiant-X will stop work and all X-2 hopes and dreams get pinned to Raider-X. If that thing can't have first flight on schedule and make Vh in a reasonable amount of time (less than two years, lol) then it's toast and so is the X-2 platform. A decades' worth of engineering effort and a ton of money for zero return.

Commando Cody 25th Mar 2021 05:27

Interesting tidbit I missed before... when Sikorsky Boeing unveiled Defiant-X in January, they said it was optimized for, "...speed where it matters". To me that seems to say, "No, we won't be as fast as we said we would be, but it's not important anyway. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain". What they seem to be trying to push everyone to focus on is how fast they promise they will be able to decelerate from whatever speed they do achieve while staying in a level attitude (have they actually demonstrated that in the nearly six years since S-97 first flight?) by putting the pusher in Beta.

Or am I reading too much in?

SansAnhedral 11th May 2021 17:40

So, is the consensus that the Defiant flight test is over, and the aircraft was probably grounded even before 2021?

If that really is true, the entire program smacks of a mind-boggling study of incompetence and engineering failure, not to mention the dubious absolute lack of coverage on this fact by the aerospace/defense "journalism" community.

casper64 11th May 2021 18:13


Originally Posted by SplineDrive (Post 11013865)
I think the Army sees keeping both V-280 and SB>1 funded during the current concept development and risk reduction phases as political cover and investment to make sure no one can protest that it wasn't a good competition when V-280 is chosen next year, despite Bell not being the incumbent VTOL supplier for the Army. Next year will be crucial for the X-2 concept... I'm assuming SB>1/Defiant-X will stop work and all X-2 hopes and dreams get pinned to Raider-X. If that thing can't have first flight on schedule and make Vh in a reasonable amount of time (less than two years, lol) then it's toast and so is the X-2 platform. A decades' worth of engineering effort and a ton of money for zero return.

I cannot imagine the 280 being chosen. Yes it is fast but thatís it. It would make a nice semi-strategic transport between FOBs with secured landing sites but I cannot imagine how that bird will perform in a hot-LZ, possibly taking fire and survive like a Blackhawk (or even Huey in the old days) can. It will have massive down wash, a bigger footprint, no clear field of fire for a door gunner due to the nacelles, etc etc... but yes it is fast....

Bell_ringer 11th May 2021 18:20


Originally Posted by casper64 (Post 11042863)
I cannot imagine the 280 being chosen. Yes it is fast but that’s it. It would make a nice semi-strategic transport between FOBs with secured landing sites but I cannot imagine how that bird will perform in a hot-LZ, possibly taking fire and survive like a Blackhawk (or even Huey in the old days) can. It will have massive down wash, a bigger footprint, no clear field of fire for a door gunner due to the nacelles, etc etc... but yes it is fast....

Sorry to burst your bubble, if you looked, you would notice that the 280 nacelles don't tilt for that very reason.
Bell improved the design so that they split and pivot upwards, so there is a clear field of fire.
It is a very different ship to the V22.

SplineDrive 12th May 2021 00:21


Originally Posted by casper64 (Post 11042863)
I cannot imagine the 280 being chosen. Yes it is fast but thatís it. It would make a nice semi-strategic transport between FOBs with secured landing sites but I cannot imagine how that bird will perform in a hot-LZ, possibly taking fire and survive like a Blackhawk (or even Huey in the old days) can. It will have massive down wash, a bigger footprint, no clear field of fire for a door gunner due to the nacelles, etc etc... but yes it is fast....

ďIt is fast but thatís it.Ē HmmÖ well, letís see, compared to the V-22, V-280 is smaller, has much lower disk loading, has increased low speed agility (meets the Army requirements for a tactical transport), has fixed nacelle on top of the wing for clear field of fire, and myriads of design and cost improvements based on 500,000+ flight hours of V-22 experience plus the development efforts of the 609 and JMR-TD tiltrotors and other aircraft in the last 30 years. It is not a V-22 painted olive green.

I cannot imagine the Defiant-X being chosen. Canít reach Vh, no publicly demonstrated low speed agility, only dozens of flight hours, no demonstration of any required capabilities, no flights with Army pilots, no field history, and no field history of any ABC aircraft. None. Since the XH-59 flew and didnít meet itís design goals there have been three more rigid coaxial aircraft and a grand total flight time in the mid-hundreds of flight hoursÖ combined. Three of those vehicles donít appear to have met the engineering goals and one was only ever designed to fly fast with very limited maneuver requirements. Any projections of costs, maintenance requirements, service suitability are just made up bunk. Sikorsky needs a new strategy and product in the pipeline to maintain a viable engineering department because the X-2 has been a 15 year long dead end.

casper64 12th May 2021 06:13


Originally Posted by Bell_ringer (Post 11042866)
Sorry to burst your bubble, if you looked, you would notice that the 280 nacelles don't tilt for that very reason.
Bell improved the design so that they split and pivot upwards, so there is a clear field of fire.
It is a very different ship to the V22.

I agree, slightly less than V22...I said nacelles, what I meant was the wings and itís nacelles. If you are landing in slightly lower terrain than the area around you (clearly not ideal but sometimes no other options), you probably have more restrictions than with a regular rotor disc. And how vulnerable is such a split nacelle already for small arms fire? And that times 2 as you have 2....

casper64 12th May 2021 06:17


Originally Posted by SplineDrive (Post 11042989)
ďIt is fast but thatís it.Ē HmmÖ well, letís see, compared to the V-22, V-280 is smaller, has much lower disk loading, has increased low speed agility (meets the Army requirements for a tactical transport), has fixed nacelle on top of the wing for clear field of fire, and myriads of design and cost improvements based on 500,000+ flight hours of V-22 experience plus the development efforts of the 609 and JMR-TD tiltrotors and other aircraft in the last 30 years. It is not a V-22 painted olive green.

I cannot imagine the Defiant-X being chosen. Canít reach Vh, no publicly demonstrated low speed agility, only dozens of flight hours, no demonstration of any required capabilities, no flights with Army pilots, no field history, and no field history of any ABC aircraft. None. Since the XH-59 flew and didnít meet itís design goals there have been three more rigid coaxial aircraft and a grand total flight time in the mid-hundreds of flight hoursÖ combined. Three of those vehicles donít appear to have met the engineering goals and one was only ever designed to fly fast with very limited maneuver requirements. Any projections of costs, maintenance requirements, service suitability are just made up bunk. Sikorsky needs a new strategy and product in the pipeline to maintain a viable engineering department because the X-2 has been a 15 year long dead end.

You never saw me writing that they should choose Defiant! ;-) Fully agree with your arguments. I think both contenders cannot perform and survive (at the moment) how a Blackhawk can in tactical operations..(no, I am not a Blackhawk pilot either...) there was too much Focus in both designs on Ąjustď being fast, which should, to my opinion, not be the main driver for helicopter operations. They should be flexible, maneuverable, and tolerant to ballistic damage and if the new designs then are a bit quicker and have larger range, thatís nice...

The Sultan 12th May 2021 14:02

Casper

The first time they used the UH-60 in an airborne assault into contested territory (Grenada) they lost three aircraft at one LZ. The 280 has demonstrated that it meets all of the Army's agility goals while being twice as fast and twice the range of existing assault helicopter. With its characteristics the V-280 can pick and choose where to insert the troops while the shorter range 60 and Defiant will most likely have to pick the first (and most likely) one they get to.

CTR 12th May 2021 15:02

500 Hours?
 
https://newatlas.com/military/sikors...ility-us-army/The Sikorsky PR team is really stretching credibility with the statement ĒSikorsky has been flying and testing X2 Technology for more than a decade, accumulating nearly 500 hoursĒ

To get to this number Sikorsky needed to add the flight test time on four different X2 aircraft, plus ground runs and multiple ground test benches for over a decade;

X2 Demonstrator: 22 Flight Hours

S-97 Raider Ship 1: 20 Flight Hours (Crashed)

S-97 Raider Ship 2: 100 Flight Hours

SB>1 Defiant: 30 Flight Hours (estimated based on 26 FH in Jan 2021)

Total for all aircraft: 172 Flight Hours

So the remaining 328 Flight Hours advertised by Sikorsky were accumulated on ground runs and test stands.

Compare this to the ďsingleĒ Bell AVCD V-280 aircraft, which since itís first flight three years ago has accumulated over 216 real Flight Hours.

I didnít post this last month when the article came out, because I felt I was beating a dead horse. But it appears hyperbole, smoke and mirrors, and snake oil are all part of SikorskyĎs sales pitch.

The engineers at Sikorsky are working their tails off to make this aircraft work. But there comes a time when do you need to look at the data with eyes wide open.




SansAnhedral 12th May 2021 15:47


Originally Posted by casper64 (Post 11043070)
I agree, slightly less than V22...I said nacelles, what I meant was the wings and itís nacelles. If you are landing in slightly lower terrain than the area around you (clearly not ideal but sometimes no other options), you probably have more restrictions than with a regular rotor disc. And how vulnerable is such a split nacelle already for small arms fire? And that times 2 as you have 2....

This seems a rather silly thing to try and poke at.

In a (very rare) defilade-type position you describe, the larger and lower spinning rotor of a conventional helicopter causes essentially the same occlusion within a couple of degrees, but over the entire circular arc instead of just the narrow aspect wing area. This difference is accentuated due to fact that the gun positions are largely forward of the wings.

The dual engine and pylon arrangement and the tiltrotor platform has proven itself in combat with the V-22 for going on 15 years now, from both small and heavy arms fire. Just look up Rooster 73 in south Sudan, or the DFC awards for the Osprey pilots flying in Afghanistan in 2012.

SansAnhedral 12th May 2021 15:55


Originally Posted by CTR (Post 11043335)
https://newatlas.com/military/sikors...ility-us-army/The Sikorsky PR team is really stretching credibility with the statement ĒSikorsky has been flying and testing X2 Technology for more than a decade, accumulating nearly 500 hoursĒ

To get to this number Sikorsky needed to add the flight test time on four different X2 aircraft, plus ground runs and multiple ground test benches for over a decade;

X2 Demonstrator: 22 Flight Hours

S-97 Raider Ship 1: 20 Flight Hours (Crashed)

S-97 Raider Ship 2: 100 Flight Hours

SB>1 Defiant: 30 Flight Hours (estimated based on 26 FH in Jan 2021)

Total for all aircraft: 172 Flight Hours

So the remaining 328 Flight Hours advertised by Sikorsky were accumulated on ground runs and test stands.

Compare this to the ďsingleĒ Bell AVCD V-280 aircraft, which since itís first flight three years ago has accumulated over 216 real Flight Hours.

I didnít post this last month when the article came out, because I felt I was beating a dead horse. But it appears hyperbole, smoke and mirrors, and snake oil are all part of SikorskyĎs sales pitch.

The engineers at Sikorsky are working their tails off to make this aircraft work. But there comes a time when do you need to look at the data with eyes wide open.

Claiming 500 hours is just like the claim that the S-97 can cruise at 220kt....or that any of the X-2 ships are capable of low speed agility Level 1 HQ....or can perform level body acceleration/deceleration....or have manageable vibration....etc etc

Facts are unimportant when you can just repeat your marketing bullet points ad nauseum and the media parrots them on command.


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