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US Army .... grosse novità in vista ....


TT-1 Pinto
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Si direbbe stiano mettendo al fuoco molta carne (forse troppa) .... ma prima che possano cominciare ad assaggiarla dovranno ancora aspettare molti anni .... e non è escluso che, nel frattempo, buona parte di essa non riesca a cuocere in maniera adeguata ....

 

 

DATE: 19/04/11

SOURCE: Flight International

 

US Army pledges to launch new class of high-speed rotorcraft

 

By Stephen Trimble

 

 

US Army aviation branch leaders have pledged for the first time to break from upgrading the service's conventional helicopter fleet and field an all-new rotorcraft with a minimum top speed of 200kts by 2030.

 

Maj Gen Anthony Crutchfield, aviation branch chief, committed the service to the new rotorcraft in a speech to the Army Aviation Association of America on 17 April. He also set a list of requirements for the vertical lift machines that will replace the Boeing AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk in 19 years.

 

The army's "next-generation aircraft" must be at least 30kt faster than the top speed a conventional helicopter can achieve due to the limitation of retreating blade stall, which caps forward velocity at roughly 170kt, Crutchfield says.

 

It must also be optionally-manned, fly 848km (526mi) missions, remain on station for 2h, hover at 6,000ft with temperatures above 35ºC (95ºF) and carry a 9-person crew plus weapons and sensors, he says.

 

"I don't think we can do all those things just by incrementally improving our current aircraft," Crutchfield says. "It's going to have to be something new."

 

Since cancelling the RAH-66 Comanche in 2004, army aviation leaders poured billions of dollars into upgrading existing helicopters with new propulsion and avionics systems.

 

That investment has produced a healthy inventory of aircraft that are in high demand in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but army aviation branch officials believe the service will need faster and more survivable aircraft after 2030 to remain effective.

 

"I don't want my grandchildren flying the [AH-64 Apache] Longbow Block 80," Crutchfield says. "[The Apache] a great aircraft but we need technology to take us further into that future."

 

Crutchfield's vision aligns the army with recent investments by Sikorsky in the coaxial-rotor X2 high-speed demonstrator and by Piasecki with the compound-rotor X-49A Speed Hawk. Boeing, meanwhile, has started early development of a high-speed vertical lift concept called the Disc Rotor. Bell Helicopter has revealed a concept for a "hybrid tandem rotor", and also has fielded the high-speed V-22 tiltrotor with Boeing as a partner.

 

In January, the army issued a request for proposals for concepts to develop a replacement for the UH-60 and AH-64 with a single aircraft called the Joint Multi-Role (JMR)-Medium. The JMR also is envisioned to be scaled up to replace the heavylift Chinook or scaled down to replace the Bell Helicopter OH-58 Kiowa Warrior.

 

But army officials have not finalized plans for launching the JMR-Medium programme, or even whether the Black Hawk/Apache replacement should come first.

 

;)

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Ed ecco che cosa riporta "Aviation Week & Space Technology" a proposito del "Joint Multi-Role (JMR) rotorcraft technology demonstration program" ....

 

Source: AviationWeek.com

 

U.S. Army Moves On Next-Gen Helo

 

By Graham Warwick (Washington)

Apr 19, 2011

 

AW_04_18_2011_1410_L.jpg

Sikorsky is building prototypes of the coaxial-rotor X2 Raider (foreground), aimed at the Army’s Armed Aerial Scout mission, and is likely to propose the technology for the JMR medium class (background).

 

 

The U.S. Army is moving toward its first next-generation rotorcraft program in decades, but industry is concerned that a “business as usual” approach to technology demonstration could stifle the innovation it badly needs to rebuild its competitiveness.

 

While the Army prepares to award contracts next month to begin the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) rotorcraft technology demonstration program, an industry coalition continues to push for funding to perform rapid, incremental “pre-X-plane” demonstrations that would promote innovation.

 

The term “Joint Multi-Role” has been around for more than a decade, applied to the concept of a common rotorcraft that could replace the current U.S. fleet of attack and utility helicopters. Recently, JMR has been broadened to encompass four classes of rotorcraft that would meet all of the U.S. military’s vertical-lift requirements.

 

“JMR is not a specific aircraft, but weight classes: light, medium, heavy and ultra,” says Layne Merritt, director for engineering and technology for the Army’s Program Executive Office Aviation. The boundaries between weight classes are defined by major changes in aerodynamics and structures, and for the Army the four categories combine to cover the mission areas of reconnaissance, attack, utility and heavy lift.

 

JMR is aimed at developing technology for new—but still undefined—rotorcraft that would enter service in the 2025-30 timeframe. “All our current production lines go cold around 2018, plus or minus two years,” Merritt says. “Minor upgrades will be required, so the configuration on the production line will change, but, barring any major change, all the aircraft go cold in 2018.”

 

This impending production cliff has motivated U.S. industry to press with increasing stridency for a new-start program. The Army’s response is the JMR technology demonstration, which falls well short of launching a new acquisition program but sets the stage for development of a next-generation rotorcraft to begin around the end of this decade.

 

“The Army is struggling with the question of how to put together a future vision and make smart investments with its limited S&T [science and technology] funding,” says Merritt. Although a new program may still be a decade away, “it takes time to develop and integrate technologies, and JMR signals the Army’s determination to move ahead,” he says.

 

In January, the Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate issued a broad agency announcement (BAA) soliciting proposals for JMR demonstrator configuration trades and analyses. These paper studies will identify essential technologies required to meet the broad performance, survivability and sustainability attributes outlined in the BAA. “They will help identify what we should invest in,” says Merritt.

 

Configuration studies will be focused mainly on the JMR medium class—to replace today’s AH-64D, UH-60M, AH‑1Z and UH-1Y—with excursions into the light (OH-58D) and heavy (CH-47F) classes to identify technologies that are common across a range of rotorcraft, regardless of size. “We are not addressing ultra,” he says, as work on the heavy-lift JMR ultra is being conducted under the U.S. Air Force-led Joint Future Theater Lift (JFTL) effort.

 

The Army studied concepts for ultra-large vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft under the Joint Heavy Lift project, which later was combined with the Air Force’s emerging requirement for a C-130J replacement to create JFTL. But plans for a formal analysis of alternatives (AOA), as a step toward launching a program, were not approved because the Air Force would not commit to providing further S&T funding after completion of the analysis.

 

Instead, the AOA was converted to a $4 million technology study with similar guidelines. A capability request for information (CRFI) released in October 2010 sought fixed-wing, tiltwing, rotorcraft and airship concepts for aircraft capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing carrying a 20-36-ton payload and cruising at speeds and altitudes equal to or better than those of the C‑130J.

 

The JFTL CRFI called for concepts with a technology readiness level of 6 by 2019, ready to begin development for service entry after 2024. The technology study is expected to be completed around the end of this year, in time to inform the fiscal 2014 budget planning cycle. But if JFTL does not produce the vertical-lift solution it seeks, the Army will revisit the JMR ultra concept, says an official close to the program.

 

In May, the Army plans to award three to five contracts, each worth $3-4 million, for JMR configuration trades and analyses lasting 24-30 months. Although restricted to paper studies, “the trades should be very detailed and the analyses very defendable,” Merritt says. The goal is to identify those key technologies that must be integrated and tested in flight demonstrators to be mature enough to use in an operational JMR.

 

While increased speed and payload are on the wish list, they come with costs. “The studies will show the cost and weight sensitivity—for example, if you have to increase the size of the aircraft to carry the last 2,000 lb.,” he says. “Speed has been at the top of the list for a long time, but you have to balance it with low-airspeed operations. If you want to go very fast, you have to compromise. So you need to make trades and put speed into an operational and cost context.”

 

The basic performance parameters outlined in the BAA will be fine-tuned based on the study results before the demonstrator program moves into its next phase. In parallel with the configuration studies, Army requirements officials will develop an initial capabilities document (ICD) for an operational JMR over the next year or so. It has not been decided whether this will be for the JMR medium or an overarching ICD with separate capability development documents (CDD) for each class, Merritt says. An ICD identifies the operational needs, while a CDD provides performance attributes and guides development of a new weapon system.

 

The next step will be the JMR technology capability demonstration—two flying demonstrators that will integrate and test key technologies emerging from the studies and ICD. The Army plans to award multiple demonstration contracts in the fiscal 2013 timeframe, and introduce more new technologies in fiscal 2015-16 as they mature. The program will address both the air vehicle and mission system, with demonstration of the mission equipment package beginning 18 months later.

 

“We are not saying the demonstrators will be brand new airframes,” says Merritt. “If it’s an airframe technology [being demonstrated], then it could be a new aircraft. If it’s a drive train, then we could use an existing aircraft.” The flight demonstrators will not be prototypes, he emphasizes, but the JMR technology capability demonstration phase would be folded into a formal acquisition program if and when it is established.

 

All of this will require more money than has been spent on rotorcraft science and technology (S&T) in recent years. “The Army has an increased S&T budget in fiscal 2012,” says Merritt, but funding will set the pace with which JMR moves from a demonstration to an acquisition program and is not the only reason why it will take so long. “Requirements have to be firmed up. [The Army] has to set clear requirements that will not change. We need to proceed in a very deliberate manner to keep the program on track.”

 

JMR is part of the larger Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative, which has the broader scope of devising a plan for increased Defense Department investment in S&T. The Pentagon submitted an FVL strategic plan to Congress in 2010, identifying the capabilities required and providing road maps to acquire the technologies needed to develop next-generation vertical-lift aircraft.

 

The Defense Department is putting the final touches on a more specific FVL strategic plan that, when signed by senior leadership, will take on the authority of a directive. Any new vertical-lift program will have to align with the objectives of the strategic plan, and it will be a key step toward launching a next-generation rotorcraft program.

 

“Right now there is nothing that carries us toward a joint program of record,” says a defense official familiar with the FVL initiative. “JMR is being stimulated by the technology community, but the acquisition community is not on board. The strategic plan will bring us closer to when a [new program] might actually occur.”

 

As part of the congressionally directed FVL initiative, the Pentagon invited industry to form the Vertical Lift Consortium (VLC) with the goal of simulating innovation and speeding technology development. Bringing established manufacturers together with non-traditional suppliers and academia, the 97-member consortium signed an “other transactions agreement” (OTA) with the Defense Department intended to enable research projects to be undertaken more rapidly and less expensively.

 

In a blow to the consortium, the Army chose not to use the OTA as its contract vehicle for the JMR technology demonstration.

 

“The services have the right to contract in the way they choose. I’m disappointed the Army didn’t take the opportunity to use the OTA, but I understand why,” says Stephen Mundt, VLC chairman and vice president of business development for EADS North America. He believes the timing of both the VLC and JMR and the structure of the OTA are reasons why the Army chose a more traditional route.

 

Despite the setback, Mundt says there is growing government interest in engaging with the consortium. “The idea that the whole definition of the VLC is based on the OTA is absurd. The VLC is a coalition of industry that has multiple responsibilities.” One is to ensure than Congress understands the impact of near-term decisions on the future of the vertical-lift industry.

 

To that end, the consortium is going back to Congress in a bid to reenergize the rotorcraft caucus that mandated the FVL initiative and to lobby for an increase in science and technology funding. “We cannot continue to rob the seed-corn of S&T and expect to build revolutionary new platforms,” Mundt says. “We intend to talk to Congress about resourcing some other opportunities, not necessarily through the Army’s BAA.”

 

Arguing there is too great a fixation on JMR, John Piasecki, VLC vice chairman and president/CEO of Piasecki Aircraft, says the FVL strategic plan outlines a full range of capability gaps and needed technologies. Industry came together more rapidly than expected to form the consortium and “there needs to be time for the services and the department to catch up,” he says.

 

The VLC’s mantra is that the cost of demonstrating technology is too high, and there is concern that the Army’s approach to the JMR technology demonstration is “business as usual.” Critics argue that several years of paper studies leading to two flight demonstrators will not encourage the innovation and competition needed to reinvigorate the U.S. rotorcraft industry.

 

“Something has to be done to get back to rapid low-cost technology development to burn down risk before engineering and manufacturing development. The VLC can play an important role in that,” Piasecki says. “Under normal [Defense Department] procedures, $200 million gets you one flight demonstrator. A Skunk Works approach can do it for less than $50 million,” he says, citing Piasecki’s X-49A compound-helicopter and Sikorsky’s X2 coaxial-rotor demonstrators as examples.

 

Because the cost is high and the funds insufficient, the Pentagon moves from demonstration to development too early, argues Mundt. “They downselect too early, take competition out and leave innovations on the cutting room floor,” he says. “When we have a strategic FVL plan, get buy-in by the services and [Defense Department] leadership, and apply a little money, they will be surprised how fast industry aligns its IR&D [independent research and development] spending, which dwarfs any investment the government makes” in S&T, Mundt says.

 

The Pentagon’s new S&T strategy is to leverage the $2.5 billion a year in IR&D spending it reimburses, but it worries that industry’s independent research is no longer aligned with Pentagon needs and is focused on low-risk, near-term technologies. While proposed rulemaking to tighten reporting of IR&D spending will help, Mundt says industry cannot align its research if it does not know where the Pentagon is going. That is where the VLC comes in to play, he says.

 

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A vederla così questa nuova "classe" di velivoli mi sembra molto promettente. Da quel che ho letto un solo turboalbero basterebbe all'S-97 per far girare l'elica di coda e i due rotori. Se si toglie il peso in più del doppio rotore, questa formula mi sembra più conveniente di quella dell'Osprey, perchè è più semplice: non cìè bisogno di inclinare proprio neinte, c'è l'elica per muoversi come aereo e ci sono i rotori per fare l'elicottero.

Da questo punto di vista, penso che non dovrebbero chiamarli "elicotteri", ma "elicoplani", cioè in volo traslato l'elicoplano ha la sinta in avanti data dal motore di coda mentre il rotore (o i rotori come in questo caso) diventano un'ala, ossia servono solo a fornire portanza e non a muoversi in avanti.

Il contrario accade in hovering, in cui forse l'elica posteriore la mettono in bandiera ?

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A proposito di nuovi motori per elicotteri ....

 

Although ITEP is aimed initially at re-engining the T700-powered AH-64 and UH-60, the engine will also power whatever emerges from the Army-led Joint Multi-Role (JMR) program, which is aimed at fielding a next-generation rotorcraft by 2030.

Fonte ....

 

http://goo.gl/RQnSv

Edited by TT-1 Pinto
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L’US Army getta le linee guida per il futuro della sua aviazione

 

21 apr, 2011

 

L’esercito ha bisogno urgente di un nuovo piano per la sostituzione della propria flotta di elicotteri al fine di ottenere per il 2030 nuove piattaforme con caratteristiche più performanti per quanto riguarda raggio d’azione, velocità, carico utile, capacità di sopravvivenza in zona ostile e impronta logistica. E’ quanto hanno affermato i generali americani riuniti a Nashville per la conferenza Army Aviation Association of America 2011.

 

I leader dell’Aviazione dell’Esercito USA hanno imposto un arco temporale limite di 20 anni per il procurement di nuovi assetti, pena il decadimento repentino delle capacità di combattimento.

 

“Sappiamo che l’attuale flotta a un certo punto sarà obsoleta”, ha affermato il Mag. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, comandante dell’ US Army Aviation Center of Excellence. La data di obsolescenza per gli Apache Longbow Block II è fissata all’anno fiscale 2040, mentre il 2035 è la data limite in corrispondenza della quale verranno ritirati i CH-47F.

 

“Non possiamo spostare questo paletto”, ha ribadito. “Il 2030 è il punto di non ritorno. Non voglio che i miei nipoti volino su un Apache Longbow Block LXXX; è un grande elicottero, ma abbiamo bisogno della tecnologia necessaria per portarci avanti ulteriormente nel futuro”.

 

Le procedure di acquisizione, ha affermato il Generale, devono garantire il rispetto della timeline, per evitare gli eventi che hanno contribuito alla cancellazione del programma Comanche nel mese di agosto 2004.

“Non possiamo permetterci di cancellare un altro programma. Non possiamo permetterci un altro Comanche”, ha specificato. “Le caratteristiche del futuro elicottero non sono compatibili con un potenziale aggiornamento della nostra flotta attuale. Abbiamo bisogno di qualcosa di nuovo”.

 

“Non conosciamo come sarà il campo di battaglia del domani” ha aggiunto Crutchfield, che, chiudendo il suo intervento, ha affermato: “Una cosa è certa: nel nostro futuro dobbiamo essere preparati per operazioni di sicurezza, di peace-keeping, di counter-insurgency e ad una guerra su vasta scala. Che cosa stiamo facendo, ora, per prepararci a questo futuro?”.

 

Il generale James D. Thurman, Comandante dell’US Army Forces Command, è intervenuto sottolineando come nel corso dei prossimi 15 anni il programma dell’esercito sia quello di costruire una forza mista di velivoli con e senza pilota ottimizzata per tutto lo spettro d’operazioni. “Questo sforzo costituisce una sfida significativa per il personale dell’Esercito e per l’industria”.

 

Thurman ha inoltre chiesto un sostituto del Kiowa Warrior. “I nostri aviatori e comandanti stanno facendo un lavoro eccezionale nel mantenere ed utilizzare il Kiowa Warrior”, sottolineando che alcune unità stanno utilizzando l’elicottero con una media di 100 ore di volo al mese, le quali gravano sulla cellula di ciascun velivolo. “In realtà – ha detto – tutti gli elicotteri dell’esercito stanno accumulando quattro o cinque volte la quantità desiderata di ore di volo. Abbiamo bisogno di un nuovo elicottero da ricognizione non appena riescono a svilupparlo”, ha aggiunto Thurman.

 

Attualmente l’US Army riceverà i primi Apache Block III il prossimo ottobre, mentre Boeing sta già pensando ad un pacchetto di aggiornamenti che potrebbero costituire lo standard Block IV, mentre per il futuro del Chinook e del Kiowa, così come dei Black Hawk, dei Viper e dei Super Huey, potrebbe prospettarsi una soluzione basata su una famiglia integrata di futuri velivoli sviluppati nell’ambito del programma Joint Multi-Role (JMR).

 

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