Russian Helicopters and the Russian Advanced Research Projects Foundation are working on a concept helicopter driven by a hybrid powerplant and artificial intelligence, according to Russian government news service TASS. The foundation is the Russian equivalent of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the U.S. but is believed to have an annual budget that is substantially less than its U.S. equivalent. Researchers working on the project said performance will be modeled to reflect future anticipated helicopter technologies in 10 to 20 years.
Stated performance parameters include a seven-hour mission duration and top speed of at least 265 knots. Key components will include artificial intelligence (AI) based controls, electromechanical transmission, electric servo drives, and hybrid power. Current efforts concentrate on the creation of the aircraft’s integrated electric power system. Created in 2012, the foundation already has an extensive portfolio of AI projects, including satellite imagery decoding and augmented reality “smart helmets” for fighter pilots.
Several Russian organizations have indicated they are involved in the development of high-speed rotorcraft in recent years. Last year, the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) revealed that it was working on a fast civil compound design to conduct search and rescue missions in the Arctic. In 2018, the Kamov design bureau released images of a different compound design it claimed would have a top speed of 378 knots.