4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 24 Apr 2019, 03:24
by charlielima223
4 companies with 4 different designs

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/04/far ... n-in-2028/
Just 13 months after Army leaders put a new scout aircraft on the fast track — and two months ahead of its original target date to award contracts — the service has chosen five firms to design potential Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. The winning companies are a who’s who of usual suspects with some interesting twists:

AVX Aircraft (Fort Worth), an innovative design firm that’s now teamed with L-3 (Waco), which provides actual manufacturing capability AVX has lacked;
Bell (also Fort Worth), whose gamble on offering an upgraded conventional helicopter seems to be paying off (see more on that below);
Boeing (Mesa, Arizona), the aerospace titan that builds the Army’s AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook;
Karem Aircraft (Lake Forest, California), known for innovative designs and small-scale projects but not mass production;
Sikorsky (Stratford, Connecticut), a Lockheed subsidiary that builds the current UH-60 Black Hawk and is now developing radically innovative compound helicopter designs.
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The Army said it had received eight proposals and only rejected three that didn’t meet its minimum mandatory requirements. Those requirements? To simplify logistics, FARA has to use some prescribed government-furnished equipment: a specific 20 mm gun, a particular missile launcher, and the GE T901 Improved Turbine Engine. To survive against Russian or Chinese advanced air defenses, FARA must also achieve a minimum speed of 205 knots (235 mph) and have a maximum rotor diameter of 40 feet, allowing it to sneak down city streets and hide behind small obstacles.



Interesting while Bell is using its tilt-rotor V-280 as a replacement for the UH-60, it is offering a scaled down version from their civilian sector...

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... fa-457592/

this is due in part because they are unable to scale down their tilt-rotor design to meet the US Army's requirements

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/04/bel ... ara-scout/
After months of no-comment, the CEO of Bell Flight’s parent company revealed that Bell will offer a conventional helicopter for the Army’s new scout, the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. That’s a stark contrast from the high-speed, long-range V-280 tiltrotor that Bell is pushing for the larger Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, or from the propeller-plus-rotors compound helicopters that rival Sikorsky is offering for both FLRAA and FARA.
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Why not a tiltrotor? Bell’s not saying, but they already scaled down their technology dramatically from the V-22 Osprey to the V-280 Valor, and the FARA would need to be smaller still. Particularly tricky would be keeping the aircraft’s maximum width to 40 feet — which the Army insists on so the FARA can hide between obstacles and sneak down city streets — when tiltrotor designs have to mount two wide rotors, one on either side of the aircraft.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 17 Aug 2019, 19:37
by aaam
I suspect there's more to Bell's decision than just scaling down Tilt-Rotor technology.

The forty foot diameter limit would be tough, but might be doable in a tandem seat vehicle. The bigger issue is the mandatory and desired performance requirements. Specifically, a Tilt-Rotor can give you great speed and range, but if all you're asking for is something that does helicopter speed and range, a Tilt-Rotor is a more expensive route to achieve that. Unlike what was first expected by industry, FARA is only asking for really good helicopter performance. Bell could bid a Tilt-Rotor and it would significantly exceed Army requirements, but the problem is that Army has made it clear that it wouldn't be willing to pay for much more than what it's asking for. Bell thinks they can meet the current requirements, including the 205 knot dash requirement, with an advanced 525 derivative so the logical decision is to do a conventional proposal. For the same reason, Sikorsky is not bidding an S-97 version (although they're using X2 technology), even though the S-97 is already flying and was designed around the previous Armed Aerial Scout requirements because the S-97 significantly exceeds what the Army's asking for now and its price would not be competitive with some of the other offerings. So, they're going to offer an X2 with lower capability than the S-97.

This isn't without precedent. Bell dropped their Tilt-Rotor proposal for LHX when the Army dumbed down its requirements. In its TX proposal Boeing did not go for best performance or even the best cost/benefit and was even willing to forgo some of the incentives for exceeding the minimum because they realized USAF was going overwhelmingly for price and what they'd gain by offering more performance wouldn't outweigh the higher price necessary to significantly exceed the minimum. That's why there weren't any protests by Lockheed or Leonardo on the decision. Boeing met at least the minimum and was the lowest price.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 25 Aug 2019, 01:53
by charlielima223
@aaam

I would suspect as well that the tilt-rotor design (while exceedingly capable for transport and some utility purposes) is not ideal for armed scouting and for dedicated attack roles.

For one, the frontal silhouette would be much wider than current conventional designs already used. We see a trend for attack helicopters to try and maintain as much of a slim head on profile as they can given their armament requirements. The fuselage might be slimmed but you would still have a rather wide wingspan and two large propellers.
Another thing that I can think of is armament requirements. We see this now with the current V-22. There has been attempts to give the Osprey more armaments for self escort but the inherent design of tilt-rotor wont allow it.

I would guess that which ever design the US Army will pick for their FARA program will eventually lead/evolve into a more heavily armed version that will replace the Apache.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 25 Aug 2019, 10:49
by madrat
You can attain a slim silhouette in multitude of directions. A vertical profile is only a low silhouette in direct relation to the target, but becomes exposed off-center from there. Rather than use a vertical profile while close to the ground, a horizontal profile is better concealed from every direction surrounding the vehicle.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 07 Oct 2019, 19:48
by aaam
charlielima223 wrote:@aaam

I would suspect as well that the tilt-rotor design (while exceedingly capable for transport and some utility purposes) is not ideal for armed scouting and for dedicated attack roles.

For one, the frontal silhouette would be much wider than current conventional designs already used. We see a trend for attack helicopters to try and maintain as much of a slim head on profile as they can given their armament requirements. The fuselage might be slimmed but you would still have a rather wide wingspan and two large propellers.
Another thing that I can think of is armament requirements. We see this now with the current V-22. There has been attempts to give the Osprey more armaments for self escort but the inherent design of tilt-rotor wont allow it.

I would guess that which ever design the US Army will pick for their FARA program will eventually lead/evolve into a more heavily armed version that will replace the Apache.


Sorry for the delay in responding.

While frontal area of the proprotors may be a consideration, I would opine that it's not the big factor that some are making it out to be, especially since a big threat is from the side. I till think it's cost.

Simply put, Army is not asking for really high performance for FARA. Tilt-Rotor comes into its own when the requirements are above what a conventional helo can do. But, it also costs more than a conventional helo of lesser performance. An F-15 costs more than a Hawk trainer. A Tilt-Rotor would definitely outperform what is being asked for for FARA, but it is clear that Army is not willing to pay for more than conventional helo performance. So it would be pointless to bid a Tilt-Rotor, regardless of how capable it would be. You would lose because a conventional helo that only met the threshold and objectives that Army's asking for would beat you on price.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 18 Oct 2019, 22:23
by charlielima223
AVX unveils its mockup design for the US Army FARA program/competition at the anual AUSA


https://breakingdefense.com/2019/10/rot ... ara-scout/

Meanwhile the company Boeing has partnered with has been very hush hush
https://breakingdefense.com/2019/10/wha ... -dont-ask/

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2019, 00:13
by count_to_10
charlielima223 wrote:@aaam

I would suspect as well that the tilt-rotor design (while exceedingly capable for transport and some utility purposes) is not ideal for armed scouting and for dedicated attack roles.

For one, the frontal silhouette would be much wider than current conventional designs already used. We see a trend for attack helicopters to try and maintain as much of a slim head on profile as they can given their armament requirements. The fuselage might be slimmed but you would still have a rather wide wingspan and two large propellers.
Another thing that I can think of is armament requirements. We see this now with the current V-22. There has been attempts to give the Osprey more armaments for self escort but the inherent design of tilt-rotor wont allow it.

I would guess that which ever design the US Army will pick for their FARA program will eventually lead/evolve into a more heavily armed version that will replace the Apache.

Its all about the requirements. It may well be that a tiltrotor would do a better job, but it won’t be picked if the requirements are written for a conventional help.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2019, 00:32
by madrat
Something resembling a flying saucer with a guarded rotor to minimize flutter effects at high speed wouldn't be terribly awful. Minimal need for large cockpit. Minimal need for external loads. Shroud would help hide blade from radar at some angles. One of the old general-purpose Infotron scout/target drones with counter rotating blades gives me reason to believe a manned system is reasonable and affordable.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2019, 19:34
by charlielima223
Bells low cost low risk submittion seen here
viewtopic.php?f=49&t=56174&p=428817#p428817

Personally i am more in favor of the front back tandem set up rather than the side by side that Sikorsky and AVX has displayed. If Sikorsky's Raider-X had this kind of fuselage design with its pusher prop design, i would think that Sikorsky's submission would exceed the Army's requirements in terms of kinematics.


Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 21 Oct 2019, 18:18
by aaam
charlielima223 wrote:Personally i am more in favor of the front back tandem set up rather than the side by side that Sikorsky and AVX has displayed. If Sikorsky's Raider-X had this kind of fuselage design with its pusher prop design, i would think that Sikorsky's submission would exceed the Army's requirements in terms of kinematics.


At the speeds we're talking about here, side by side seating isn't going to cause much of a differnece in kinematics, and it does offer a number of advantages. Sikorsky's bigger worry is the poor record of its X2 technology so far.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2019, 05:21
by charlielima223
aaam wrote:Sikorsky's bigger worry is the poor record of its X2 technology so far.


What is so poor about its record exactly? People will site that the SB-1 and S-97 prototype aircraft haven't flown much but will either forget or neglect to state why. As stated in the interview and in other articles, the engineers came up against and unforseen problem and had to find a way to over come the problem. By their accounts of simulations and additional testing they are confident that they fixed it.
While the Bells FARA submission is based on their 525 design, lets not forget that their 525 design has two more fatalities over Sikorsky's design. This unfortunate event happened when Bell was testing high speed flight of the 525 which resulted in the fatal incident. Just like Sikorsky; Bell engineers faced an unforseen problem and had to find ways how to fix it.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 22 Oct 2019, 19:56
by aaam
charlielima223 wrote:
aaam wrote:Sikorsky's bigger worry is the poor record of its X2 technology so far.


What is so poor about its record exactly? People will site that the SB-1 and S-97 prototype aircraft haven't flown much but will either forget or neglect to state why. As stated in the interview and in other articles, the engineers came up against and unforseen problem and had to find a way to over come the problem. By their accounts of simulations and additional testing they are confident that they fixed it.
While the Bells FARA submission is based on their 525 design, lets not forget that their 525 design has two more fatalities over Sikorsky's design. This unfortunate event happened when Bell was testing high speed flight of the 525 which resulted in the fatal incident. Just like Sikorsky; Bell engineers faced an unforseen problem and had to find ways how to fix it.




On all the X2s (including the demonstrator) , they've repeatedly missed predicted goal date, internally or externally set . With SB>1, after an over year long delay, in six months they've only been able to fly four times for a total of three hours. And there was a months long grounding for maintenance issues in there. Regarding the future, Boeing's program manager has stated that in the next six months they hope to reach the Army's minimum mandated (not SB>1's promised design) speed, "“if we have no other significant things we learn along the way,”. That isn't the most ringing endorsement I've ever heard.

In 4 1/2 years they've only flown S-97 for ~ 60 hours and there has been some talk that it may not be able to reach its full promised speed.

There are always problems with new technology, but whatever's going on seems more fundamental, because unexpected delays keep happening.

In the case of the 525 crash, they were testing the ability to recover from a single-engine failure at high airspeed, high power setting, heavy gross weight and forward cg. The expected rotor decay occurred, the pilots waited 1 second to initiate recovery. Decay stopped, but didn't restore. Due to the high speed and low rotor rotation an unexpected vibration began. There was a low rotor speed warning tone, but because it was a test vehicle and not fully representative, that same tone was used for 21 other warnings (good planning there). Biomechanical feedback occurred which the FBW wasn't set up to correct and rotor speed fell below 80% and the blades fell out of normal rotation and hit the tailboom. Software changes were made (just like they were after the S-97 crash) which solved that. It seems the situation was unique, and now they've got over 950 hours on the 525.

In any case, the point is not that X2 is a dog: it's not. It's that it's nowhere near as mature as it's being made out to be. At this point in time, it's still a higher risk technology.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 23 Oct 2019, 01:21
by jetblast16

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 23 Oct 2019, 01:34
by jetblast16

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 19 Feb 2020, 02:32
by charlielima223
Boeing has released a teaser video for their FARA submission

https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopter ... 51.article

So far Bell and Sikorsky are the only two that have flying prototypes for their FARA submissions. Unlike the competitors Boeing has been very secretive of their design. From what I have seen from the teaser trailer Boeings submission has a single main rotor and front rear tandem crew design. What is interesting is that they purposely blocked the rear section of their aircraft. Sikorsky, AVX, and Karem proposed designs all have pusher props. Will Boeings design submission follow the same trend?

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 29 Feb 2020, 09:08
by aaam
Blowup and enhanced shot from the video showing the rear. If it's representative, they're going to have a pusher prop and a tailrotor, the latter mounted on a boom like the UH-60's.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 05 Mar 2020, 06:11
by charlielima223
Now there are 5 designs. Boeing recently revealed their submission for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft...

https://breakingdefense.com/2020/03/fvl ... ut-design/

The Boeing FARA – which, unlike its competitors, still lacks a snazzy name – looks at first glance like a conventional helicopter. But conventional helicopters can’t achieve the Army’s requirement to streak at low altitude across future battlefields without being shot down. To meet that need for speed, every competitor has submitted something novel, but Boeing’s design combines more different features than any of its rivals.

“Main features?” Openshaw said. “It’s a single-main-rotor, thrust-compound helicopter, fly-by-wire, single-engine, with no wing.”

No wing? I asked. Those flat surfaces sticking out on either side by the tail sure look like wings, or at least winglets…

They’re not, Openshaw assured me. “That’s a horizontal stabilizer at the tail,” he said. “It functions very much like the stabilator on an Apache” — which is also designed for high agility at low altitude.

Besides helping the aircraft maneuver, I pressed, does it provide lift? A lot of the other FARA competitors have wings for when the main rotor can’t provide enough lift.

“It’s not a primary lift mechanism, it’s more of a trim and balancing system on the back of the aircraft,” he said. (Emphasis ours). “It will provide some lift in the aft for the tail, but not as a primary lifting surface.”

Let’s break down the aircraft’s features.

Most obviously, there’s a single main rotor blade on the top of the Boeing FARA aircraft, to provide lift and thrust, and a much smaller tail rotor, to provide stability.
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But helicopter-style rotors run into aerodynamic difficulties as speed increases, so each competitor has had to figure out another way to achieve the velocities the Army wants. Part of Boeing’s solution is a pusher propeller at the tail of the aircraft: When the pilot needs more speed and the main rotor can no longer deliver it, they can ramp up that prop for extra thrust.

That’s a feature Boeing shares with both Sikorsky’s Raider-X and theKarem AR-40. The difference is where that pusher propeller fits. Since Sikorsky doesn’t need a tail rotor for stability, it just replaces it with the prop. But Karem and Boeing do need tail rotors, at least in certain flight modes. So how do they add a tail prop as well?

Karem’s ingenious but mechanically complex solution is to make one mechanism serve double duty. The pusher prop flips to one side to act as a tail rotor when required. Boeing, by contrast, sticks both a tail rotor and a pusher propeller on the tail, one atop the other.

Boeing’s approach is mechanically much more straightforward, in keeping with the company’s push to keep its FARA design as simple — and therefore affordable — as possible.
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While the pusher propeller provides forward thrust, thrust alone is not enough. You also need upwards lift to keep the aircraft in the air. Helicopters rely on their rotors for both lift and thrust, but, again, the aerodynamics of that don’t work at high speeds. 
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There will be “a single engine” rather than two, which is generally lighter and more efficient, although it leaves you without anything to limp home on if that one engine fails. Finally, the streamlined fuselage requires the pilot and co-pilot to sit one behind the other, the tandem arrangement common on high-speed aircraft. 

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 05 Mar 2020, 14:36
by Scorpion1alpha
Looks like Boeing took the more conventional route. Simpler single rotor design (unlike Sikorsky’s Raider X complex twin rotor design) but adding the pusher prop for speed and thus eliminating the wing (unlike Bell’s Invictus).

Looks small and thus would be a good size for the armed recon role by being relatively light and agile. To me, the front end design looks incomplete, like a shark with it’s mouth missing or something. That’s just me though. Some others might see it as a thing of beauty.

I think Boeing has got a good candidate there.

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I'm still in the Bell Invictus corner though.
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Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 05 Mar 2020, 20:40
by madrat
I am surprised there are no inline ducted rotors. Hydraulics could drive them using a single power source.

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Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 06 Mar 2020, 05:06
by Fox1
The Invictus is one sexy machine. If it performs even half as well as it looks, it should be a dandy.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2020, 11:23
by boogieman
My initial impression is to root for Sikorsky on this one. The fact that their prototypes aren't fully functional yet strikes me as less important than the fact that they actual have prototypes to work with. The technology involved seems promising...

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 08 Mar 2020, 20:52
by madrat
Karem's design is pretty interesting and has more practicality with the main wing design. That use of the wing is a big plus for high speed flight. The obvious downside is a pusher prop that has to operate as a puller at takeoff. I would think if they can build commonality with the joint service project, it's hard to overcome their offering.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 09 Mar 2020, 01:32
by boogieman
Yeah but the Sikorsky design looks sexier :wink: :P

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 21 Mar 2020, 09:35
by aaam
madrat wrote:Karem's design is pretty interesting and has more practicality with the main wing design. That use of the wing is a big plus for high speed flight. The obvious downside is a pusher prop that has to operate as a puller at takeoff. I would think if they can build commonality with the joint service project, it's hard to overcome their offering.


Late note: The pusher prop can also be a pusher at takeoff/land. Whether the antiitorque is a pusher or puller just depends on how the main rotor rotates and the design choice on where to put it. Note that on the AH-1, on some models the tail rotor acts as a pusher an on others a puller. Some models mount the tail rotor on the port side and some on the starboard.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 00:32
by basher54321
FARA2.jpg


FARA.jpg

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2020, 12:29
by Scorpion1alpha
It appears that manufacturing of the two FARA prototypes has begun.
https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... -aircraft/

The Invictus's design looks to have been refined since first revealed. Noticeable differences/changes that I immediately noticed are:

-New wing design with a different shape and downward winglets at the tips.
-Different locations for various antennas.
-Removal of various lumps and bumps in the front fuselage section of the aircraft. Looks like these are replaced with windows flushed with the fuselage similar to the F-22 design. Now the aircraft looks much cleaner up front and should reduce drag and increase performance.
-Shape of the rear vertical stabilizer changed slightly.
-The slope angle of the canopy increased.

Overall, looks sleeker. I like it.
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Lockheed/Sikorsky's Raider X looks about the same at this point.
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Both designs have their merits and advantages/disadvantages. This competition will be interesting.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2020, 15:01
by Bjorn
Scorpion1alpha wrote:
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Looks familiarly close to the cancelled RAH-66 to me.

Greets,

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2020, 15:32
by Scorpion1alpha
Bjorn wrote:Looks familiarly close to the cancelled RAH-66 to me.

Greets,


No doubt the RAH-66 was the design that inspired Bell's design (maybe Bell would deny that though).

Funny thing is the Camanche was developed by Boeing and Sikorsky (now part of Lockheed). Now, Sikorsky is developing the Raider X for its FARA design, which is competing against none other than the Invictus...the design that was inspired from their once RAH-66 Comanche.

The irony...

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2020, 01:57
by madrat
The KAREM looked like something out of Russia.

These two aren't terrible looking by any means. I do wonder why technology like NOTAR (no tail rotor) and Cirstel (Combined Infra Red Suppression and Tail rotor Elimination) never made it in any of the designs. Or maybe something that used the Coandă effect. The Fenestron - tilted tail with an imbedded fan - looks so... European. Penny farthing designs need to have the fork stuck in them.

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versus
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Or maybe use twin ducted tilt-fans to boost lift, add forward thrust, or rotate around the Y-axis using imbalanced thrust. I like this small footprint but it probably is very unstable as speeds increase.
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And then my favorite futuristic flying car. Again, tailless. This just begs for a bubble canopy for the pilot(s) and gull-wing doors for passengers/equipment. A big advantage I could see with something like this is the obvious ability - since there is no rotor above you to clear free of - to use ejection seats for the pilot(s). Having a separate cab from the cockpit would allow the pilot to operate equipment off the doors in a gunship role. Enemy forces on the ground would not know the troop carriers from the gunships. Add in a telescoping mast-mount to look over hills and a minigun on one or both front corner(s).
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Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 18 Oct 2020, 21:00
by aaam
I think I remember reading somewhere that NOTAR tends to lose effectiveness in thinner air, and since the "hot and high" is a major part of FARA (and FLRAA)'s specifications, maybe it was thought it wouldn't give the performance needed?


That, and NOTAR technology is owned by MD helicopters and their FARA proposal was rejected.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2020, 12:40
by Scorpion1alpha
madrat wrote:Image


Would this thing even be considered a "helicopter"???

aaam wrote:I think I remember reading somewhere that NOTAR tends to lose effectiveness in thinner air, and since the "hot and high" is a major part of FARA (and FLRAA)'s specifications, maybe it was thought it wouldn't give the performance needed?


I don't know, but if I were to guess, you're right.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2020, 13:28
by madrat
Scorpion1alpha-
It's an Israeli drone with twin fixed-lift rotors and the two rotors in back can swivel. It is considered a helicopter.

Very similar idea to:
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There weren't many pictures on it to see the default cant of the two main rotors. I assume they are rotating in opposite directions to counteract torque.

Re: 4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2020, 12:29
by Scorpion1alpha
Thanks.