4 Designs for US Army's FARA

Helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft
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charlielima223

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Unread post24 Apr 2019, 03:24

4 companies with 4 different designs

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/04/far ... n-in-2028/
Just 13 months after Army leaders put a new scout aircraft on the fast track — and two months ahead of its original target date to award contracts — the service has chosen five firms to design potential Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. The winning companies are a who’s who of usual suspects with some interesting twists:

AVX Aircraft (Fort Worth), an innovative design firm that’s now teamed with L-3 (Waco), which provides actual manufacturing capability AVX has lacked;
Bell (also Fort Worth), whose gamble on offering an upgraded conventional helicopter seems to be paying off (see more on that below);
Boeing (Mesa, Arizona), the aerospace titan that builds the Army’s AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook;
Karem Aircraft (Lake Forest, California), known for innovative designs and small-scale projects but not mass production;
Sikorsky (Stratford, Connecticut), a Lockheed subsidiary that builds the current UH-60 Black Hawk and is now developing radically innovative compound helicopter designs.
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The Army said it had received eight proposals and only rejected three that didn’t meet its minimum mandatory requirements. Those requirements? To simplify logistics, FARA has to use some prescribed government-furnished equipment: a specific 20 mm gun, a particular missile launcher, and the GE T901 Improved Turbine Engine. To survive against Russian or Chinese advanced air defenses, FARA must also achieve a minimum speed of 205 knots (235 mph) and have a maximum rotor diameter of 40 feet, allowing it to sneak down city streets and hide behind small obstacles.



Interesting while Bell is using its tilt-rotor V-280 as a replacement for the UH-60, it is offering a scaled down version from their civilian sector...

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... fa-457592/

this is due in part because they are unable to scale down their tilt-rotor design to meet the US Army's requirements

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/04/bel ... ara-scout/
After months of no-comment, the CEO of Bell Flight’s parent company revealed that Bell will offer a conventional helicopter for the Army’s new scout, the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. That’s a stark contrast from the high-speed, long-range V-280 tiltrotor that Bell is pushing for the larger Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, or from the propeller-plus-rotors compound helicopters that rival Sikorsky is offering for both FLRAA and FARA.
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Why not a tiltrotor? Bell’s not saying, but they already scaled down their technology dramatically from the V-22 Osprey to the V-280 Valor, and the FARA would need to be smaller still. Particularly tricky would be keeping the aircraft’s maximum width to 40 feet — which the Army insists on so the FARA can hide between obstacles and sneak down city streets — when tiltrotor designs have to mount two wide rotors, one on either side of the aircraft.
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aaam

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Unread post17 Aug 2019, 19:37

I suspect there's more to Bell's decision than just scaling down Tilt-Rotor technology.

The forty foot diameter limit would be tough, but might be doable in a tandem seat vehicle. The bigger issue is the mandatory and desired performance requirements. Specifically, a Tilt-Rotor can give you great speed and range, but if all you're asking for is something that does helicopter speed and range, a Tilt-Rotor is a more expensive route to achieve that. Unlike what was first expected by industry, FARA is only asking for really good helicopter performance. Bell could bid a Tilt-Rotor and it would significantly exceed Army requirements, but the problem is that Army has made it clear that it wouldn't be willing to pay for much more than what it's asking for. Bell thinks they can meet the current requirements, including the 205 knot dash requirement, with an advanced 525 derivative so the logical decision is to do a conventional proposal. For the same reason, Sikorsky is not bidding an S-97 version (although they're using X2 technology), even though the S-97 is already flying and was designed around the previous Armed Aerial Scout requirements because the S-97 significantly exceeds what the Army's asking for now and its price would not be competitive with some of the other offerings. So, they're going to offer an X2 with lower capability than the S-97.

This isn't without precedent. Bell dropped their Tilt-Rotor proposal for LHX when the Army dumbed down its requirements. In its TX proposal Boeing did not go for best performance or even the best cost/benefit and was even willing to forgo some of the incentives for exceeding the minimum because they realized USAF was going overwhelmingly for price and what they'd gain by offering more performance wouldn't outweigh the higher price necessary to significantly exceed the minimum. That's why there weren't any protests by Lockheed or Leonardo on the decision. Boeing met at least the minimum and was the lowest price.
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charlielima223

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Unread post25 Aug 2019, 01:53

@aaam

I would suspect as well that the tilt-rotor design (while exceedingly capable for transport and some utility purposes) is not ideal for armed scouting and for dedicated attack roles.

For one, the frontal silhouette would be much wider than current conventional designs already used. We see a trend for attack helicopters to try and maintain as much of a slim head on profile as they can given their armament requirements. The fuselage might be slimmed but you would still have a rather wide wingspan and two large propellers.
Another thing that I can think of is armament requirements. We see this now with the current V-22. There has been attempts to give the Osprey more armaments for self escort but the inherent design of tilt-rotor wont allow it.

I would guess that which ever design the US Army will pick for their FARA program will eventually lead/evolve into a more heavily armed version that will replace the Apache.
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Unread post25 Aug 2019, 10:49

You can attain a slim silhouette in multitude of directions. A vertical profile is only a low silhouette in direct relation to the target, but becomes exposed off-center from there. Rather than use a vertical profile while close to the ground, a horizontal profile is better concealed from every direction surrounding the vehicle.
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aaam

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Unread post07 Oct 2019, 19:48

charlielima223 wrote:@aaam

I would suspect as well that the tilt-rotor design (while exceedingly capable for transport and some utility purposes) is not ideal for armed scouting and for dedicated attack roles.

For one, the frontal silhouette would be much wider than current conventional designs already used. We see a trend for attack helicopters to try and maintain as much of a slim head on profile as they can given their armament requirements. The fuselage might be slimmed but you would still have a rather wide wingspan and two large propellers.
Another thing that I can think of is armament requirements. We see this now with the current V-22. There has been attempts to give the Osprey more armaments for self escort but the inherent design of tilt-rotor wont allow it.

I would guess that which ever design the US Army will pick for their FARA program will eventually lead/evolve into a more heavily armed version that will replace the Apache.


Sorry for the delay in responding.

While frontal area of the proprotors may be a consideration, I would opine that it's not the big factor that some are making it out to be, especially since a big threat is from the side. I till think it's cost.

Simply put, Army is not asking for really high performance for FARA. Tilt-Rotor comes into its own when the requirements are above what a conventional helo can do. But, it also costs more than a conventional helo of lesser performance. An F-15 costs more than a Hawk trainer. A Tilt-Rotor would definitely outperform what is being asked for for FARA, but it is clear that Army is not willing to pay for more than conventional helo performance. So it would be pointless to bid a Tilt-Rotor, regardless of how capable it would be. You would lose because a conventional helo that only met the threshold and objectives that Army's asking for would beat you on price.

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