A report by the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) has listed some risks arising from the decision by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to switch its Joint Strike Fighter selection from the F-35B STOVL (short takeoff and vertical landing) version to the F-35C carrier version.
They both deny it, but helicopter manufacturers Sikorsky and Eurocopter have clearly reignited the speed race between their respective semi-compound X2 and compound X3 demonstrators. The X2 will fly again this summer, this time with its full rotor hub fairing. Sikorsky officials last week said that the test will be oriented primarily toward understanding how the “aero sail” behaves in certain conditions.
Sikorsky and General Electric have signed a teaming agreement under which GE Aviation will provide CT7-8 engines for Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider prototype development program. The Raider is a high-speed, high-agility next-generation helicopter drawing on the company’s X2 technology, and which is aimed at providing an armed aerial scout for the U.S. Army, among other applications.
Goodrich has been recognized for its role on the 2010 Robert J. Collier Trophy-winning Sikorsky X2 Technology demonstrator team. The company provided the SmartProbe air data systems and engine controls on the record-breaking aircraft.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 development program has met or exceeded the revised flight-test schedule that was written following a technical baseline restructuring (TBR) last August, according to Lockheed Martin officials. But some significant technical issues remain, and affordability continues to be a key concern for the new-generation combat aircraft.
Both the Sikorsky X2 and the Eurocopter X3 have propellers and both are targeting higher cruise speeds; however, their respective designers have not been working to the same principles.
The X2 is effectively a semi-compound helicopter, having contra-rotating main rotors and one aft propeller, while the X3 is a true compound with a single main rotor, wing stubs and two side-mounted propellers.
Eurocopter has delivered what it hopes will prove to be the X-Factor to this year’s Paris Air Show. The daily flying display this week features its new its X3 (“x cubed”) compound helicopter demonstrator, a modified AS 365 Dauphin with a conventional main rotor, two propellers on wingstubs and a conventional empennage.
Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is the Pentagon’s largest cooperative program. Eight partner countries are collectively contributing $4.9 billion to the system design and development phase (SDD). They have projected a total buy of 597 aircraft as follows: Australia, 100; Canada, 65; Denmark, 30; Italy, 131; The Netherlands, 85; Norway, 48; Turkey, 100; and the UK, 138.
Lockheed Martin has learned “some painful lessons” during the development of the F-35, CEO Bob Stevens told journalists in late May. “There’s more realism now,” he added.
U.S. defense contractors eliminated from the $10 billion competition to provide India’s medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) cite several other international programs and competitions as opportunities for their respective platforms. But the start of Japan's F-X contest in April and fighter requirements in countries including Denmark, Malaysia and Brazil did nothing to mask the clear disappointment expressed by U.S.