New Bell 360 Invictus attack chopper

Helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft
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aaam

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Unread post04 Apr 2021, 01:27

KamenRiderBlade wrote:https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopters/bell-reveals-429-demonstrator-with-four-electric-tail-rotors/136876.article

Bell should try integrating the EDAT Tail Rotor system into the Invictus to allow superior noise performance, sound signature, safer, & redundancy along with simpler maintenance and having a modern Tail Rotor system that is on the cutting edge of Rotor-Craft technology while not being too complicated or "Out there".

Bell can combine the new EDAT Tail Rotor with other new Quieter Main Rotor Blades.

Eurocopter has "Blue Edge" rotors & "Blue Pulse" tech to help lower the accoustic signature of the helicopter.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Edge

If they can stack all of them together, they can help with the noise signature of the platform which could give it some edge against it's Sikorsky competitor.


The thing is that AFAIK, the Army's requirements don't specify a particular noise ceiling as one of the deciding factors. In fact, the Invictus' main rotor is based on the advanced rotor on the Relentless. Relentless has a five blade rotor because they're trying to be a good neighbor and minimize the noise signature in civilian operation. Since the 360 doesn't have that constraint, they went to a four blade configuration which is lighter and cheaper.

Bell appears to be going the route Boeing took to win the T-X contract. That is, meet the requirements but don' t go for the max possible performance if that boosts costs significantly . Have the lower price/lower risk bid.

Sikorsky's is pitching its platform, Raider-X, as a higher performance vehicle, counting on that to offset its probably higher price and greater risk. The thing is, their X2 technology so far has proved disappointing with lots of delays and performance questions. For example, their S-97 Raider has never demonstrated its promised speed (neither has SB>1) and seems to be spending most of its time in the 180 knot and below area. It took almost 4 1/2 years after first flight before a guest was allowed to fly in it, and even then he wasn't allowed in the command seat and so was limited in what he could do. It's possible Sikorsky never intended to allow non-program people to fly the craft, since there is no collective available for the left seat .

In the words of Sikorsky's own pilot on the flight, " “I am not confident sitting in the left seat of that machine and letting somebody take it for a spin around the block, so unfortunately it fell to him to sit in the left seat.” By comparison, the V-280 had its first guest pilot a couple of months after first flight and has had multiples since then, with full access to all controls.

My point is that Bell is not going to put a lot of extra, higher risk systems on board their craft if it'll raise the cost to improve something that they probably already meet.

IMO
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sferrin

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Unread post04 Apr 2021, 16:16

Fox1 wrote:The Invictus is probably the most aesthetically pleasing combat helicopter design I've ever laid eyes upon. I think it is much more attractive than the Comanche. If this thing can fly and perform even half as well as it looks, I think Bell has a winner here.


Nah. Bell is going to win the other competition with the V-280 so Sikorsky will get this one.
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aaam

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Unread post04 Apr 2021, 22:47

sferrin wrote:Nah. Bell is going to win the other competition with the V-280 so Sikorsky will get this one.


Five or more years ago, I would have agreed with you,they usually like to "spread the wealth" around.

However, given the performance of X2 vehicles so far it shouldn't be considered a slam-dunk for Raider-X. This will be Army's fifth attempt to replace the OH-58, and I don't think they'd be willing to accept a lot of risk in their choice. S-97 was late to get airborne, consistently missed every prediction by Sikorsky as to when it would achieve a particular goal and really hasn't demonstrated much about its envelope except that it's quick in a straight line. Even that last has a qualification. In almost five years it has yet to achieve its promised top speed. In fact, there are a number of sources that are now saying it never will. I note that Sikorsky's now pushing on its X2s that they are concentrating on, "speed where it matters". This sounds like marketing-speak for "No, we won't meet our speed goals but pay no attention to that, look at this". They are pushing the ability to slow down very rapidly from cruise while keeping the airframe level by putting the prop in beta, but I don't think they've actually demonstrated that yet.

OTOH, although Bell is proposing a vehicle that' lower risk by using some of their existing technologies from their newer products, the fact remains they haven't actually flown yet. My feeling is that if Bell simply meets all of its promises (which meet the requirements but does not dramatically exceed them and X2 continues to have the problems/results we've seen so far, if Invictus is cheaper Army would have a tough time selecting Raider-X.

One thing to watch for: If Army decides to significantly lower the requirements on FARA or FLRAA, this would imply the "fix" is in.
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Unread post13 Apr 2021, 06:05

Isn't it time to start exploring what drones have been demonstrating for years and put it into a helicopter system?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i58cC2hntqQ

The human body might not be able to withstand these maneuvers. An automated unit might be better for dropping ordnance. Point at a target and let the computer figure out the delivery.
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