Bell Boeing, the joint venture that produces the V-22 and MV-22 tiltrotor for the Air Force, Navy and Marines, announced that it had successfully demonstrated the capability of that aircraft to serve as an aerial refueling tanker in trials with F/A-18C/D fighters. The test V-22 used a retractable refueling drogue. Bell Boeing has been promoting the V-22 for other roles, including that of the Greyhound COD resupply mission for aircraft carriers.
Sikorsky Aircraft is developing a set of hardware and software capabilities to support autonomous flight of unmanned or optionally piloted vertical-lift aircraft. Executives said the goal is to deliver an order of magnitude improvement in the safety and reliability of unmanned aircraft, which experience losses at a rate of once every 1,000 flight hours.
Contract negotiations between the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate and AVX Helicopter, Bell Helicopter and the Sikorsky/Boeing team–the potential Phase I vendors for the joint multi-role technology demonstrator (JMR-TD)–are nearing completion. Announcement of the awards for a new U.S. Army medium helicopter are planned for September, according to an Army spokesman.
The Camcopter S-100 unmanned air system (UAS) by Austria’s Schiebel (Hall 4 A40) has proved its efficient maritime capability repeatedly since the Gowind class L’Adroit offshore patrol vessel was made available to the French Navy in 2011. Schiebel, learning from the experience, says it is now working with sensor manufacturers to integrate maritime radar, electronic support measures (ESM) and EO/IR sensors into the S-100 system. This will for the first time provide maritime commanders with an organic, persistent, ISR capability for a UAS in this class.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) is soliciting proposals from industry for a vertical takeoff and landing experimental aircraft (VTOL X-plane) that would demonstrate “radical” improvements over the current state of VTOL flight. In late February, Darpa issued a broad agency announcement seeking proposals by May 1.
On Monday, Italian helicopter maker AgustaWestland revealed that it has been secretly flying an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing demonstration aircraft powered by twin-electric, direct-drive tiltrotors. The “Project Zero” tiltrotor was designed and built in six months by the company’s advanced concepts group and has been flying since 2011.
On Monday at Heli-Expo, AgustaWestland revealed that it has been secretly flying an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing demonstration aircraft powered by twin-electric, direct-drive tiltrotors. The “Project Zero” tiltrotor was designed and built in six months by the company’s advanced concepts group and has been flying since 2011. It features elevons for pitch and roll control and in forward flight, a V-tail for longitudinal stability, and a lifting body design with two integrated tiltrotors than can be tilted through 90 degrees.
The FAA’s final rule on civil tiltrotor noise limits and conditions for noise compliance measurement becomes effective March 11. It amends regulations governing noise certification standards and establishes new noise limits and procedures to ensure that noise-reduction technology is incorporated in tiltrotors.
AgustaWestland (Pavilion OE1) is offering an increased-gross-weight version of its AW609 tiltrotor, which trades off some vertical takeoff capability for a higher payload limit. This will make it more attractive for some missions where vertical capabilities are not needed on departure.
Schiebel reported trials of its Camcopter S-100 on a frigate of the Italian Navy, equipped with a Wescam MX-10 high-definition camera. The small unmanned helicopter “has successfully proved its maritime capability on 14 different classes of vessel in three oceans,” the company claims. A trial with the French navy is ongoing.
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