New Bell 360 Invictus attack chopper

Helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft
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aaam

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Unread post04 Apr 2021, 01:27

KamenRiderBlade wrote:https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopters/bell-reveals-429-demonstrator-with-four-electric-tail-rotors/136876.article

Bell should try integrating the EDAT Tail Rotor system into the Invictus to allow superior noise performance, sound signature, safer, & redundancy along with simpler maintenance and having a modern Tail Rotor system that is on the cutting edge of Rotor-Craft technology while not being too complicated or "Out there".

Bell can combine the new EDAT Tail Rotor with other new Quieter Main Rotor Blades.

Eurocopter has "Blue Edge" rotors & "Blue Pulse" tech to help lower the accoustic signature of the helicopter.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Edge

If they can stack all of them together, they can help with the noise signature of the platform which could give it some edge against it's Sikorsky competitor.


The thing is that AFAIK, the Army's requirements don't specify a particular noise ceiling as one of the deciding factors. In fact, the Invictus' main rotor is based on the advanced rotor on the Relentless. Relentless has a five blade rotor because they're trying to be a good neighbor and minimize the noise signature in civilian operation. Since the 360 doesn't have that constraint, they went to a four blade configuration which is lighter and cheaper.

Bell appears to be going the route Boeing took to win the T-X contract. That is, meet the requirements but don' t go for the max possible performance if that boosts costs significantly . Have the lower price/lower risk bid.

Sikorsky's is pitching its platform, Raider-X, as a higher performance vehicle, counting on that to offset its probably higher price and greater risk. The thing is, their X2 technology so far has proved disappointing with lots of delays and performance questions. For example, their S-97 Raider has never demonstrated its promised speed (neither has SB>1) and seems to be spending most of its time in the 180 knot and below area. It took almost 4 1/2 years after first flight before a guest was allowed to fly in it, and even then he wasn't allowed in the command seat and so was limited in what he could do. It's possible Sikorsky never intended to allow non-program people to fly the craft, since there is no collective available for the left seat .

In the words of Sikorsky's own pilot on the flight, " “I am not confident sitting in the left seat of that machine and letting somebody take it for a spin around the block, so unfortunately it fell to him to sit in the left seat.” By comparison, the V-280 had its first guest pilot a couple of months after first flight and has had multiples since then, with full access to all controls.

My point is that Bell is not going to put a lot of extra, higher risk systems on board their craft if it'll raise the cost to improve something that they probably already meet.

IMO
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sferrin

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Unread post04 Apr 2021, 16:16

Fox1 wrote:The Invictus is probably the most aesthetically pleasing combat helicopter design I've ever laid eyes upon. I think it is much more attractive than the Comanche. If this thing can fly and perform even half as well as it looks, I think Bell has a winner here.


Nah. Bell is going to win the other competition with the V-280 so Sikorsky will get this one.
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aaam

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Unread post04 Apr 2021, 22:47

sferrin wrote:Nah. Bell is going to win the other competition with the V-280 so Sikorsky will get this one.


Five or more years ago, I would have agreed with you,they usually like to "spread the wealth" around.

However, given the performance of X2 vehicles so far it shouldn't be considered a slam-dunk for Raider-X. This will be Army's fifth attempt to replace the OH-58, and I don't think they'd be willing to accept a lot of risk in their choice. S-97 was late to get airborne, consistently missed every prediction by Sikorsky as to when it would achieve a particular goal and really hasn't demonstrated much about its envelope except that it's quick in a straight line. Even that last has a qualification. In almost five years it has yet to achieve its promised top speed. In fact, there are a number of sources that are now saying it never will. I note that Sikorsky's now pushing on its X2s that they are concentrating on, "speed where it matters". This sounds like marketing-speak for "No, we won't meet our speed goals but pay no attention to that, look at this". They are pushing the ability to slow down very rapidly from cruise while keeping the airframe level by putting the prop in beta, but I don't think they've actually demonstrated that yet.

OTOH, although Bell is proposing a vehicle that' lower risk by using some of their existing technologies from their newer products, the fact remains they haven't actually flown yet. My feeling is that if Bell simply meets all of its promises (which meet the requirements but does not dramatically exceed them and X2 continues to have the problems/results we've seen so far, if Invictus is cheaper Army would have a tough time selecting Raider-X.

One thing to watch for: If Army decides to significantly lower the requirements on FARA or FLRAA, this would imply the "fix" is in.
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Unread post13 Apr 2021, 06:05

Isn't it time to start exploring what drones have been demonstrating for years and put it into a helicopter system?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i58cC2hntqQ

The human body might not be able to withstand these maneuvers. An automated unit might be better for dropping ordnance. Point at a target and let the computer figure out the delivery.
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aaam

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Unread post03 Aug 2021, 19:19

There have been significant refinements to the design:
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Unread post03 Aug 2021, 19:31

An interesting development that applies to both the 360 and Raider-X:

Col. Greg Fortier, FARA Project Manager, recently stated that it would be impossible to produce an aircraft that meets the present FARA requirements. “There’s no version of the world where you can go 180 [kt.] at 14,000 lb. on a 3,000-shp engine and a 40-ft. rotor disc", he says, and also the speed and endurance at range and payload at range can't be done within the constraints Army has put on the design.

So far neither of the competitors have commented on this.
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Unread post04 Aug 2021, 16:01

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Unread post04 Aug 2021, 16:45

aaam wrote:In the words of Sikorsky's own pilot on the flight, " “I am not confident sitting in the left seat of that machine and letting somebody take it for a spin around the block, so unfortunately it fell to him to sit in the left seat.” By comparison, the V-280 had its first guest pilot a couple of months after first flight and has had multiples since then, with full access to all controls.



Where did you read or hear that?
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aaam

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Unread post04 Aug 2021, 19:19

charlielima223 wrote:
aaam wrote:In the words of Sikorsky's own pilot on the flight, " “I am not confident sitting in the left seat of that machine and letting somebody take it for a spin around the block, so unfortunately it fell to him to sit in the left seat.” By comparison, the V-280 had its first guest pilot a couple of months after first flight and has had multiples since then, with full access to all controls.



Where did you read or hear that?


That was noted in some of the sources discussing the guest pilot flight. If you'll check out https://verticalmag.com/news/army-pilot ... 97-raider/, you'll see they used the same quote from the Sikorsky pilot that I used.
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Unread post05 Aug 2021, 01:00

aaam wrote:
charlielima223 wrote:Where did you read or hear that?


That was noted in some of the sources discussing the guest pilot flight. If you'll check out https://verticalmag.com/news/army-pilot ... 97-raider/, you'll see they used the same quote from the Sikorsky pilot that I used.


I think you should have included more of the article to add better context...

“It doubles as a great familiarization trainer,” Corry said. “There are a couple of things that are unique to flying Raider, like the fact that you have this prop that gives you kind of a third degree of freedom. . . . There’s a bit of pilot technique that one needs to become accustomed to it.”

The pair spent the better part of two days flying the SIL, partly getting Packard used to sitting in the left seat and using the single, centerline collective and outboard fly-by-wire control stick on Raider. After spending a career flying traditional helicopters with a left-hand collective and right-hand stick, getting used to switching sides in the left seat takes some getting used to, Corry said.

.“That effectively means that the guy that’s flying in the left seat is for all intents and purposes batting left handed,” Corry said. “I am not confident sitting in the left seat of that machine and letting somebody take it for a spin around the block, so unfortunately it fell to him to sit in the left seat.”

"That was the limitation of the flight,” Corry added. “Certainly in Raider X we’ve addressed that to where it’s going to be common controls on both seats so each pilot will have his own cyclic and collective and it will be natural and nobody has to play left handed.”


So it seems like it was a design implementation that had to be redesigned to make it more familiar to pilots. I wonder how pilots who flew all their life and career center stick then going to side stick controls. Pretty sure there was some negative cross-over and feed back at first.
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Unread post06 Aug 2021, 23:49

charlielima223:

I was focusing on particular datapoints of that article, adding more of the article wouldn't have changed it.

Specifically, Why Sikorsky would build a craft with only a central collective, and remember, the S-97 was supposed to be something they would attempt to sell both here and abroad? Originally, ship #1 was to be the test and envelope expander and #2 was to be fitted out to demonstrate to prospective customers. Why would you build something that no customer would be allowed to fly, but, "... trust us, if you buy it'll all work out? They do say that if Army buys Raider-X, they'll be sure to put in two collectives. Why not have built a cockpit that other pilots could fly from the start unless you didn't want them to?

Second, the Sikorsky pilot didn't feel confident enough in the machine to allow the guest pilot, after lots of time in the simulator, to fly right seat even in basic envelope. That seems extremely troublesome to me.

I would like to have read the guest pilot's impressions of the flight but. AFAIK, he's not been made available for interviews.
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Unread post15 Aug 2021, 16:06

Progress on Bell 360 Invictus build

Defense Aviation News August 2021 aerospace air force industry
POSTED ON FRIDAY, 13 AUGUST 2021 10:36

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has released new data on the build and testing for the Bell 360 Invictus competitive prototype. The Bell 360 program is rapidly progressing through manufacturing, assembly, components testing, and systems integration work for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. The team has completed multiple design and risk reviews with the Army and is on schedule for all program requirements. The Bell 360, a low-risk, high-speed platform with proven technology and inherently reliable designs, will deliver soldiers transformational operational capabilities at an affordable cost...
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https://airrecognition.com/index.php/ne ... build.html

Best read there
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