Somebody’s finally doing something tangible about the future of Army aviation. Bell Helicopter subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems of Wichita, Kan., has started assembling the composite fuselage for the first prototype V-280 Valor, Bell’s new military tiltrotor. The Valor is sleeker, smaller, and, by design, more Army-friendly than the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, which was built to fit… Keep reading →
AUSA: Visitors to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s display at this year’s Association of the United States Army meetings in Washington can hardly miss an eye-popping marketing video the company is showing. Running on a huge flat screen hung at the entrance to the company’s spot on the show floor, the video uses simulation imagery of XBox quality to show how Sikorsky’s conceptual S-97 Raider – a compound helicopter based on the X2 Technology Demonstrator the company flew in 2010-2011 – would perform Armed Aerial Scout missions for the Army.
It’s a great show. Zooming through canyons at what looks like the S-97’s projected cruising speed of 220 knots – an impossibility for ordinary helicopters – a Raider in a formation of five uses a video downlink from a Predator drone to take out a group of heavily armed insurgents with laser-guided rockets, firing before the enemy can hear the helicopters coming. Then, at the request of ground troops, another Raider uses its mini-gun to kill six insurgents hiding in a tree line. Keep reading →
MANASSAS, Va: Buzzing a runway in 200-knot low-level passes and steep, nose-up climbs, Eurocopter’s silver X3 hybrid helicopter looked like something out of a James Bond movie as it performed for the media in late July. The X3 (pronounced “X-cubed”) stopped off at Manassas Regional Airport as part of a U.S. tour that ended last Thursday at the Pentagon, where Eurocopter hopes to sell several types of helicopters based on its sleek new technology demonstrator.
“I see a bright future inside the military,” said Steve Mundt, vice president for business development for Eurocopter parent EADS North America and a retired brigadier general who once ran the Army’s aviation branch. Keep reading →