Future Helicopters

3rd April 2016 | Tech stuff

Future Helicopters:

There are choppas [choppers] in Milijun which have a lifting disc and directional jets at the back. Their name is derived from CHief Operational Patrol and Pursuit Aircraft. They are either manned or unmanned. However, near future helicopters will still bear some resemblance to today’s versions. But there are some major advancements in the pipeline. By necessity, it seems, they are driven as always by a military need.

Just around the corner:

Helicopters of the future will definitely be faster than current day models, moving out to twice the speed of today’s versions. Paramount also is fuel efficiency to give larger range and greater payload. Many of the current designs have dual coaxial main rotors and push propellers or ducted fans at the rear.

For sure, the aircraft will be fast. For example a Sikorsky-Boeing team is basing a design on Sikorsky’s experimental X2 demonstrator helicopter. In 2010 this aircraft flew at up to 250 knots, or roughly twice the average cruise speed of conventional helicopters.

One of the most favoured concepts right now is the design put forward by the AVX Aircraft Company. This particular model comes with coaxial rotors and fans that are ducted. The undercarriage is retractable. It is capable of hitting speeds of 435 km/h.

The design will weigh about 12,000 kg, and have a lift capacity of 5,900 kg. It will be capable of carrying 12 combat troops and 4 crew members. Up front, there is a pair of stubby wings, claimed to provide 40% of the lift at flight speed. The rear has an access ramp for cargo loading and faster unloading of troops/small vehicles. The attack version of this design will house a belly turret and weapon doors.

The future of Vertical Lift depends on whether the new and as yet experimental coaxial compound rotor technology will prove to be better than the more researched tiltrotor concept. Both concepts are well understood, but not used much.

NASA and other agencies have spent the past decade experimenting with smart material actuated rotor, or SMART, technology, which includes piezoelectric materials. This technology promises significantly improved performance of the rotor. It will increase range for the same amount of fuel and is also much quieter. There is more than just promise that SMART Rotor technology can reduce noise significantly. There’s proof.

Test results showed that the SMART Rotor can reduce by around half the amount of noise emanating from a wind tunnel setting. However, the real test of SMART rotor noise reduction would come from flight tests on real future helicopters.


Here’s a Sikorsky video on prototype aircraft [skip the ads if they show].

https://youtu.be/Pag7fSgoiz0   Sikorsky X2 Technology

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