- Posts: 96
- Joined: 02 Mar 2017, 14:29
Cruise speed: 320 mph (278 kn)
Never exceed speed: 364 mph (316 kn)
Range: 1,036 mi; (900 nmi)
Service ceiling: 31,000 ft
g limits: +7.0g −3.5g
Fuel capacity: 149.0 gal (1200lbs)
Number built over 850
Unit cost US $4.272 million
It has to have speed to arrive on station; it has to have duration to loiter; it has to be cheap.
- Existing rotor craft are slower; they have poor duration to loiter; they are expensive. UH-60: US $21.3 million (avg. U.S. procurement, 2012)
- MQ-9 Reaper armed drones, for roughly $20 million apiece in 2010
Well, these kind of aircraft (X-2 and Valor) are not your "typical rotorcraft". Actually they use fixed-wings to provide lift at higher speeds and have "horizontal thrust" which greatly increase their speed and loiter time compared to "conventional rotor aircraft" (i.e. Helicopters) like the UH-60 that you mentioned.
For example the Valor is expected to have a cruise speed of 280 knots which is slightly higher (by 2 knots) compared to the T-6.
Drones/UAV are an interesting solution but like others (namely blindpilot) have said, drone operating infrastructures is not cheap and this not to mention the cost associated with the satellites needed to actually and effectively operate ("communicate" with) the UAVs.
Moreover UAVs while an excellent choice for environments where the enemy has limited air defence capabilities they (UAVs like the MQ-9) are extremely vulnerably to any enemy that possesses proper or advanced air defence systems and/or integrated air defence systems, a limitation which is similar/shared by aircraft like the AT-6/Super Tucano.
So what I find interesting about this sort of aircraft (X-2, Valor) is that they share similar performance as an AT-6 but can alternatively operate like a helicopter whenever needed, making these sort of aircraft much more multi-functional and at the same time more survivable.