Army Picks Firms to Build Future Helicopter | DoD Buzz

The U.S. Army has picked at least one industry team to move forward with development of a futuristic rotorcraft, the companies announced on Tuesday.

The service selected Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., part of United Technologies Corp., and Boeing Co. to build a helicopter for the first phase of the Joint Multi-Role technology demonstrator program, according to a statement. The firms partnered to develop the SB>1 Defiant, a medium-lift chopper based on Sikorsky’s X2 coaxial design and expected to fly for the first time in 2017.

The technology “will provide the best future vertical lift solution to the U.S. Army, and the flexibility of our design makes it suited for naval applications as well,” Mick Maurer, Sikorsky’s president, said in the press release. “This is a major leap forward.”

via Army Picks Firms to Build Future Helicopter | DoD Buzz.

As long as the Army sticks to mostly looking at a medium lift helicopter (and that means as a replacement for the H-60 family) I’m not too concerned. But anytime you start tossing in terms like “Joint” and “Multi-Role” into a program, you very quickly risk bloat and overreach, both programatically and technological.

8 thoughts on “Army Picks Firms to Build Future Helicopter | DoD Buzz”

    1. Some attempts, I’m sure. But they’ll always be less stealthy than you can make a fixed wing bird. If you really need to avoid radar, you drop down lower.

  1. Multi-role is what scares me. The basic helo itself would not cost anymore than any other, except for the added complexity of the drive train with contra-rotating rotors and the “pusher” prop. What would run the cost up enormously would be the avionics, and other equipment, they’d want to put in it and hang on it.

    Stealth for a chopper consists mainly of quieting the thing. What the thins are made for make it difficult to cut the radar cross-section much.

    1. …Black Hawk, Seahawk, Jayhawk, Pave Low…it’s the Swiss Army knife of rotary wing aviation.

      1. Ah, but the point is, the H-60 family started from the UTTAS competition, a single service program. Sikorsky (and Boeing Vertol) designed the H-60 to meet the Army requirement, which was fairly closely tailored to a very narrow range of needs- lift a rifle squad, or lift an M102 howitzer. Speed, range, survivability.

        The fact that it was a fundamentally sound airframe that was very adaptable to other roles and missions was a function of that narrow range of criteria when it was designed.

        If the other services had been involved in the initial design, their demands for certain specifications would likely have forced compromises (or additions) on the initial design resulting in increased complexity, weight, and cost.

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