[News Today] The U.S. Army Wants What Could be a Super Weapon: Stealth Helicopters Flying at 280 K
Military Update News :The U.S. Army Wants What Could be a Super Weapon: Stealth Helicopters Flying at 280 Knots
The Bell V-280 Valor is a third-generation tilt-rotor aircraft being developed by Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin for the United States Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. The aircraft was officially unveiled at the 2013 Army Aviation Association of America’s (AAAA) Annual Professional Forum and Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas, with a projected first flight in 2017.
The V-280 is reported to be designed for a cruising speed of 280 knots (320 mph; 520 km/h) (hence the name V-280), a top speed of 300 knots (350 mph; 560 km/h), a range of 2,100 nautical miles (2,400 mi; 3,900 km), and an effective combat range of 500 to 800 nmi (580 to 920 mi; 930 to 1,480 km). Expected maximum takeoff weight is around 30,000 lb.[ In one major difference from the earlier V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, the engines remain in place while the rotors and drive shafts tilt. A driveshaft runs through the straight wing, allowing both prop rotors to be driven by a single engine in the event of engine loss. The V-280 will have retractable landing gear, a triple-redundant fly by wire control system, and a V-tail configuration. The wings are made of a single section of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer composite, reducing weight and production costs. The V-280 will have a crew of 4 and be capable of transporting up to 14 troops. Dual cargo hooks will give it a lift capacity to carry a 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) M777A2 Howitzer while flying at a speed of 150 knots (170 mph; 280 km/h).
GE Aviation will manufacture the engines for the V-280, with the prototype (air vehicle concept demonstrator, or AVCD) using the General Electric T64. The specific engine for the model performance specification (MPS) is unknown, but has funding from the Army’s future affordable turbine engine (FATE) program. The V-tail structure and ruddervators, made by GKN, will provide high levels of maneuverability and control to the airframe. It will be made of a combination of metals and composites. Features in the interior include seats that wirelessly charge troops’ radios, night-vision goggles, and other electronic gear and windows that display three-dimensional mission maps.
Bell Helicopter engineers and weapons developers and looking at innovative ways to reduce the radar signature of their new, next-generation V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft slated to be operational by the 2030s.
While developers stop short of calling the new project a stealth helicopter, they do acknowledge they are engineering stealthy characteristics such as infrared IR heat suppressing systems and various fuselage contour constructions as a specific way to make the new aircraft less targetable by enemies.
Radar sends electromagnetic signals, pulses or pings traveling at the speed of light – bounces them off of an object – and analyzes the return signal to determine the shape, size and speed of an enemy target. For this reason, electronic jamming is another tactic used to thwart or throw off enemy radar systems.
Recognizing the importance of lowering the helicopters heat signature, Tobin explained that Bell is now investigating cutting-edge engine technologies specifically designed to reduce the heat they emit.
We are looking for opportunities to reduce that heat signature. A lot of new technologies that the engine companies are looking for include seeking the best ways to ensure maximum performance of the engine while using an IR suppressor, Tobin explained.
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