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Author: Subject: Future Helicopter and Vertical Lift

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[*] posted on 12-5-2017 at 04:02 PM
Future Helicopter and Vertical Lift

Next-generation NATO rotorcraft could overlap with FVL

11 May, 2017 SOURCE: BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

As the US Army plots the high-speed Future Vertical Lift programme, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has commissioned a study group to evaluate the future of the alliance's fleet and develop recommendations for members.

A team of experts held its initial meeting discussing the Next Generational Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) last July and the NATO Industrial Advisory Group (NIAG) will conduct a study guiding the helicopter replacement implementation, Dan Newman, NGRC study chair and senior technical fellow at Boeing, told an audience at the American Helicopter’s Society’s forum this week.

Newman does not know yet if the next generation rotorcraft will include five separate capability sets like FVL and says NATO is starting its own assessment from scratch.

NATO also has no plans to form a joint international programme with the army, he adds.

“If they happen to be the same, that’s great,” he says. “We’re not going to force them to be the same and we’re not going to listen to FVL, we’re going start from scratch so in the end if they’re using the same physics and the same needs, they’re gonna end up with the same set of recommendations.”

The need for the alliance's members to replace aging rotorcraft took on increased urgency following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, he says.

To date, the team of experts filled by operators and customers appear to be on the same page as the army and US Defense Department when it comes to vertical lift requirements, Newman says. Yet even if those requirements dovetail between the US joint services and NATO, members could be resistant to alliance-imposed mandates.

“We’ve shown international collaboration can be good,” he says. “We’ve shown forcing can be a challenge.”
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[*] posted on 19-5-2017 at 02:34 PM

Boeing could deliver Block II Chinook to international customers in 2026

18 May, 2017 SOURCE: BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

Boeing could make CH-47 Block II helicopter renewal available to international customers in 2026, according to Boeing’s director of Chinook global sales.

The 2026 delivery date is dependent upon Boeing achieving full-rate production approval from the US Army in 2023 and its first full-rate production delivery in 2025, Randy Rotte says this week. The upgrade is also only available to countries with CH-47Fs in their inventory, such as Australia, since Boeing does not currently have the ability to transition a CH-47D to the CH-47F Block II configuration.

Boeing is already in talks with several international customers, including Israel, Rotte says.

“There are questions being answered in Israel,” he says. “They’re in the fact finding phase.”

CH-47 Block II entered the engineering manufacturing and development phase in April and Boeing plans to delivery the first LRIP aircraft to the US Army in 2025. Block II upgrades include an improved drive train and larger aft section to accommodate a new engine in the future. But Boeing touts the Chinook’s new swept tip rotor blades as Block II’s greatest achievement.

Boeing completed flight testing of the advanced composite rotor blades this month. The blades give 1,500 lb more lift capability, though Boeing had outlined a 2,000 lb lift capability as its original objective.

Meanwhile, with plans from the US Army to continue operating the Chinook into the 2060s, Boeing remains confident the service will pursue a Block III upgrade. The programme would include improved engines (GE Aviation's future affordable turbine engine -- FATE), torque management system and the BAE Systems' Active Parallel Actuator System (APAS). The latter adds a back-driven inceptor for the pilot that -- when combined with the Chinook's digital automatic flight control system -- mimics the feel of an advanced fly-by-wire system in a helicopter with mechanical controls.

BAE demonstrated the flight handling improvements of APAS on the CH-47 in 2015. Boeing plans to field the system in early 2020, if the customer chooses it.

Boeing has outlined a notional 2035 initial operational capability date for Block III, just before the transition to heavy lift rotorcraft under Future Vertical Lift capability set 5 in 2045. The Block III capabilities could also be fielded as engineering change proposals.

The improved engine could fit into the same power class as the GE's FATE engine, which falls between 5,000shp-10,000shp. Existing engines such as the Honeywell T55, Rolls-Royce AE1107C and GE T408 can achieve the same power.
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[*] posted on 24-5-2017 at 12:55 PM

Light Utility Helicopter (PT-2) Makes Maiden Flight

(Source: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.; issued May 23, 2017)

PT2, the second LUH prototype, has a modified tail boom and incorporates improvements based on feedback from testing of PT1. The company hopes to freeze the final configuration by year-end. (HAL photo)

BENGALURU, India --- On the heels of maiden flight of HTT-40 (PT-2), HAL carried out first flight of Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)-PT-2 on May 22, 2017 at its facility in Bengaluru. The chopper was flown by Chief Test Pilot Wing Cdr(Retd) Unni K Pillai and Test Pilot Wing Cdr (Retd) Anil Bhambhani. The flight duration was about 22 minutes and pilots reported nil snag.

These maiden flights of indigenous aircrafts are testimony to HAL’s rapid progress towards ‘Make in India’ campaign both in fixed and rotary wing segments. These prototypes add strength to ongoing test flights to achieve operational clearance cutting the time frame”, said Shri T. Suvarna Raju, CMD-HAL.

The LUH PT2 has modified tail boom and incorporates improvements based on feedback from testing of LUH PT1. The first flight of LUH PT1 was carried out on September 6, 2016 and further envelope expansion flights are in progress. LUH PT-1 made its flight demonstration during the international air show Aero India-2017 held in February 2017.

HAL plans to carry out further flight testing on PT1 & PT2 in the months ahead to freeze the helicopter configuration by end of this year. Senior officials from HAL, representatives from RCMA(H/c), AQA, IAF and Army were present during the flight

About Light Utility Helicopter (LUH):

The LUH is a 3-ton class, new-generation helicopter being indigenously developed by HAL to meet the requirements of both military and civil operators. The helicopter with Glass Cockpit will be deployed for Reconnaissance, Surveillance roles and as a light transport helicopter.

The helicopter will be capable of flying at 220 Kmph, with a service ceiling of 6.5 Km and a range of 350 Km with 400 kg payload. The LUH is powered by TM/HAL Ardiden 1U/Shakti 1U single turbo shaft engine with sufficient power margins to cater to demanding high altitude missions.

An integrated facility for manufacturing the LUH along with systems and components, composites, transmission system, engine, Ground Test & Flight Test facilities and Repair and Overhauling facilities for LUH, systems and the engine is planned at Tumakuru, Karnataka for which the foundation stone was laid by the Prime Minister on January 3, 2016.

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[*] posted on 26-5-2017 at 05:17 PM

Sikorsky bullish on export prospects for CH-53K helicopter

25 May, 2017 SOURCE: BY: Dominic Perry London

Sikorsky hopes it can secure at least 200 export orders for its CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter, with Germany and Israel its clearest near-term prospects.

Both nations are seeking to replace elderly fleets of legacy CH-53s delivered in the 1970s and late 1960s, respectively.

Frank Crisafulli, sales director international, heavy-lift helicopters at Sikorsky, describes Germany as the "closest opportunity, provided it stays on schedule".

Sikorsky expects that Berlin will release a request for proposals (RFP) by mid-2018, with a contract likely to be awarded the following year.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2023 as the country begins to retire its air force's remaining fleet of 81 CH-53GA/GS rotorcraft.

Sikorsky will face competition in Germany from the Boeing CH-47 Chinook. However, although its manufacturer is developing a Block II upgrade for the US Army, recent reports suggest that it will not be sold to international customers until 2026.

"The CH-53K will have been flying with the US Marine Corps for four years [by 2023] so when it comes to a question of maturity it will be the only mature heavy-lift platform that will be offered to Germany in that timeframe," Crisafulli says.

He acknowledges that with a unit cost of about $87 million the acquisition price of the King Stallion will be higher than that of the Chinook, but stresses that lifecycle costs over the duration of its service – likely to be 30-40 years with Germany – will be "comparable… to our two-engined competitor".

He adds: "It's more expensive than the Chinook, but it's literally twice the helicopter."

Although the baseline CH-53K has a maximum take-off weight of 33,600kg (74,000lb) with an internal load – against 22,700kg for the Chinook – Crisafulli is confident of capability growth. "It could easily go to 80,000lb or 88,000lb," he says.

It also features a full glass cockpit and fly-by-wire controls, he adds.

Berlin has yet to indicate the quantity of helicopters it will require, but Crisafulli envisions a total procurement of about 60 units; the nation had previously requested pricing for 41 CH-53Ks.

Although Germany's previous CH-53s, dating from a 1972 contract, were assembled in-country, only sustainment activities will be localised on this occasion.

Sikorsky is "in discussions with multiple [potential] partners", Crisafulli says, noting that "nobody is out of consideration".

"Back in 1972 we competed against the Chinook with the -53D for the German campaign and we know how that ended up.

"We are again competing against the Chinook with a brand-new helicopter that's designed for the future and they have a patchwork of [engineering change proposals]," he says.

Sikorsky is hopeful that it will be able to display the King Stallion at next year's ILA Berlin air show.

Tel Aviv, meanwhile, is looking for deliveries to start in about 2025 as it begins the replacement of its 23-strong CH-53 "Yas'ur" fleet, with the Chinook again the other likely contender.

However, Crisafulli says Sikorsky has begun early discussions with "at least three other countries" on the CH-53K.

He hopes international sales will be "equal to or greater than" the 200 examples being procured by the USMC. "Certainly we are having talks that could indicate that it’s along that level of magnitude."

Low-rate initial production of the King Stallion will begin at Sikorsky's plant in Stratford, Connecticut in 2018, with first delivery to the USMC also due that year. Initial operational capability is expected in 2019, with full operational capability in 2029.
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