Sikorsky

Joint MultiRole Bell Valor

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 →

A Sikorsky drawing of their H-92 helicopter in its future role as "Marine One."

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.: The new presidential helicopter made its first flight in December, the Marine Corps colonel in charge of the program revealed this morning. That was only seven months after contract award, a stark contrast to the multi-year delays that killed the previous program, the VH-71. But don’t get too excited. No miracles are… Keep reading →

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant concept for the Joint Multi-Role demonstrator, a predecessor to the Future Vertical Lift aircraft.

ARLINGTON: And then there were five. There were already going to be four different aircraft in the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family, from light to medium to heavy to “ultra.” Now it’s almost certain that the medium FVL will be split into two separate versions: a smaller attack/reconnaissance aircraft and a larger troop-carrying assault craft.… Keep reading →

Sikorsky VTOL X-Plane Concept DARPA

In the 1934 film “It Happened One Night,” fictional slime ball “King” Westley shows off by floating to a landing on the lawn of his fiancée’s daddy’s estate in a newfangled autogiro – an airplane with a rotor to enable short take offs and landings. Today, two Defense Department programs are striving to meet the… Keep reading →

The Sikorsky S-97 prototype.

The company that built the first workable helicopter rolled out a (potential) revolution in chopper technology yesterday: Sikorsky’s high-speed S-97 Raider. A year ago, Sikorsky made a splash at the huge Association of the US Army conference with just a life-size mock-up. Now, just in time to talk it up at AUSA 2014, they’ve built a working… Keep reading →

Sikorsky, Boeing signed Jan. 13 teaming agreement for 1st phase of Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) tech demo, part of Future Vertical Lift ColinClarkAol

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: Degraded Visual Environment, or DVE, is jargon for the problem helicopter pilots face when their rotors kick up blinding clouds of dust or other debris. DVE also describes the problem the entire rotorcraft industry is facing as it tries to anticipate what new aircraft the Army can actually afford in this blindingly uncertain federal budget situation. At this week’s Army Aviation Symposium, hosted outside Washington by the Association of the United States Army, the future was obscured by the fog, not of war, but of funding.

“We’re trying to see 20 years into the future, really,” said EADS. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: Army aviation leaders thought they had a plan to start developing a new Armed Aerial Scout all teed up for the vice chief of staff’s approval last month. But Gen. Lloyd Austin III said, “no.”

It was the latest twist in a 21-year (and counting) saga to replace the Army’s aging OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, a Vietnam-vintage design. The interminable effort to build a new reconnaissance helicopter has started to resemble the legendary quest for the Holy Grail. Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: Reports that the Army has finally figured out whether the Hamlet of aircraft programs, Armed Aerial Scout, should be or not be are greatly exaggerated. Army aviation acquisition officials have looked at what birds in hand industry can offer to replace the service’s aging OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopters and have decided they’d prefer to go after a bird in the bush. They’re still trying to decide, though, whether they can actually afford one.

The Army has been struggling for more than 20 years to come up with an aircraft to replace the Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. OH-58, which first went into service in 1969 and has been upgraded several times. Rumors were reported last week that a decision had been made to buy a new Armed Aerial Scout after a Pentagon meeting. At that session, Army aviation officials briefed the service’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, Heidi Shyu, on the results of flight demonstrations of helicopters manufacturers could offer for the armed scout role. They also presented options and a recommendation, but no decisions were reached. 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 →

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