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Bell and VT Hovercraft concepts 1960-0nwards

JAZZ

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Some interesting Bell and VT designs came out in the 1960's, I dare say not that practicable. However it is interesting to see how the defense industry saw the future, very often the future we describe, ends up the future we have.
 

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JAZZ

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couple-more
 

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JAZZ

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VT concepts
 

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JC Carbonel

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Hello ! would you have info on that saucer-ish Bell hovercraft with torpedo-lauvhing habilities (depending on whom you ask in the nose or in the wings) that finally appeared in the french gravic-novel "panique à cape Kennedy" (Dan Cooper) ?

JCC
 

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US Assault ship concept
 

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RP1

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Presumably these were part of the broader USN effort to develop a SES that lead to the "3KSES" - a 3000 ton SES ASW FFG.

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Mention is made in the various books on the Postwar Royal Navy of a proposal for a Royal Navy Hover Frigate which seems similar to the Vosper drawing published after the project was definitively nixxed in the late 60s. Brown/Moore and Grove pour scorn on the idea, but it would be fun to see any other drawings info out there.
UK 75
 

RP1

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Slight threadjack. SARO also investigated hovercraft, of course. A presentation of their work was given at the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich, on 1960-02-19. In with the notes from this (which outline some design concepts) and the minutes of an MoS meeting a month earlier (which covers general research) was this beauty:

Image1_sml_prv.png


SARO picture # F1237

RP1
 

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JAZZ, is there by any chance, any more information available on the "US- Bell Amphib Assault LC-1973" concept?

Firefly said:
JAZZ said:
US Assault ship concept

Is that an LCAC on the aft deck?

Looks like it, or rather, a depiction of an operational version of the JEFF B AALC (Amphibious Assault Landing Craft) prototype that would go on to form the basis of todays LCACs.


EDIT: USN LCAC Fact File
 

Triton

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Artist's impression of Bell Aerospace 10,000-ton helicopter carrier hovercraft with Knox-class U.S.S. Roark (FF-1035) for scale circa 1975.

Source:
http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1975/1975%20-%200017.html
 

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TomS

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That "10,000-ton" ship can't be right. It's no longer than the Knox in the background; although it's wider, it's also quite light, because most of the space under that skirt has to be empty. I'd guess that this is actually Bell's 2,000-ton concept.
 

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TomS said:
That "10,000-ton" ship can't be right. It's no longer than the Knox in the background; although it's wider, it's also quite light, because most of the space under that skirt has to be empty. I'd guess that this is actually Bell's 2,000-ton concept.

Alternate theory: terrible artist.
 

Triton

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Stargazer2006 said:
Triton, both images already appear at the beginning of the same page!!!

The images posted by JAZZ are cropped. I would argue that the inclusion of the U.S.S. Roark in the artist's impression or the inclusion of the Chinook helicopters in the other artist's impression is important to gauge the scale of these concepts and adds to the discussion.

TomS said:
That "10,000-ton" ship can't be right. It's no longer than the Knox in the background; although it's wider, it's also quite light, because most of the space under that skirt has to be empty. I'd guess that this is actually Bell's 2,000-ton concept.

The caption in the Flight International article does mention that Bell Aerospace is designing a 2,000-ton hovercraft. Though judging by the side walls in the hull I would guess that the concept is a Surface Effect Ship (SES) or side-wall hovercraft. The concept also does not have hangers, which makes the claim that the concept is a helicopter carrier dubious.
 

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http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/b007469.pdf
 

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This was actually a project for the Air Force , but I think it fits in here; the Air Cushion Crash Rescue Vehicle.

1.0 INTRODUCTION

This report describes the results of an Air Force program to
develop an Air Cushion Crash Rescue Vehicle (ACCRV) conducted, under contract
FY1456-85-02073. This contract included three phases of study; Concept
Design, described in the Phase 1 R&D Design Evaluation Report, No.
7646-927001 (Ref. 1), a preliminary vehicle design described in Phase II
Preliminary Design Report, No. 7646-927003 (Ref. 9), and a third phase
effort, consisting of design and fabrication of a scaled Dynamic Model of
the ACCRV. The contract included a functional checkout of the dynamic
model, the results of which are included in this report (Section 11.3).

1.1 General
Current aircraft fire and rescue vehicles, including the P-
19, have limited capability to operate over rough and low strength ground
surfaces, especially soft, wet ground or marsh and snow, with no capability
for overwater operation. In a wartime environment, fire fighting and rescue
will be further restricted because of craters, debris or unexploded
bombs.

Improved fire fighting and rescue vehicular mobility is
needed to increase the probability of successfully rescuing crew and passengers.
This requires a radical departure from current fire and rescue
vehicle designs. The successful operation of ACV's over austere surfaces,
including swamps and water, suggests this technology be used to develop an
air cushion augmented fire/rescue vehicle, and this is the basis for the
current effort. The air cushion crash rescue (ACCRV) vehicle is required
to perform a complete rescue from downed aircraft, by traversing a wide
variety of surfaces. It incorporates a triage compartment, a high boom for
access and a slide. Fire fighting equipment similar to the P-19 is also
carried on the vehicle, but it can function as a rescue vehicle as well as
a fire truck.

In the concept study completed during the initial phase of
the program, Bell considered many variations of subsystems and components.
The ACCRV concept design employed major components of the most up-to-date
crash rescue trucks. It was similar in aspect to the P-19 'Rapid Intervention
Vehicle' design specifically for fire suppression but it was somewhat
larger, especially longer, had a more powerful engine, and incorporated an
air cushion system which could be immediately deployed to completely support
the vehicle for off-runway or overwater operation, and a combined
overwater/overland drive consisting of four wheels and a small track system
to augment vehicle propulsion in snow and over water. Its predicted performance
met or exceeded all aspects of the requirements.

EDIT: On reflection, maybe this could have gone over in the ATTS/ACET thread instead.
 

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Grey Havoc

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Bell Aerospace Canada Voyageur: http://www.decastris.com/hcc/builders/bell/voyageur.htm

Not only the US Army, but also ARPA were interested in the Voyageur:

Presently the helicopter offers the best means for establishing
and supporting satellite stations. As SEV's become available this
situation will change. A vehicle such as the Voyageur being developed
and built by Bell Aerospace, Canada, appears to offer many advantages
for support of research on the pack ice. Even when such
vehicles become available however, helicoptors should be retained in
the transportation mix. They have great flexibility for getting about
and for doing a variety of jobs, including, as one example, use as
a device for lifting and erecting structures in situations where cranes
are not available. Helicopters also are needed for reconnaissance
support for the SEV. The automatic hover capability for helicopters,
earlier described under STATE OF THE ART, should markedly im -
prove the capability of this aircraft to operate in low visibility.

Satellite stations may be manned or unmanned. If manned,
housing might be provided by pre-equipped modular vans, one or
more small 8' x 8' x 8' huts, or fold-truss structures such as
described under Shelters in Section II. Heat and power would be
provided by small diesel or propane generators. An airstrip would
be necessary even if heavy equipment for resource exploration is to
be brought in. A flying crane helicopter or an SEV could be used for
this purpose.

Unmanned satellite stations would, of course, be established by
airdrop from long-range aircraft operating from land bases. In the
complex being described here, it is visualized that they wvould be
established by helicopters or SEV's. They may consist of a variety
of devices for the acquisition of data pertaining to the regions above,
in, and under the ice, including the use of unmanned submersibles.
A key element will be a reliable, long-life, economical power
source. Current power sources (batteries, diesel generators, winddriven
generators), while adequate for many purposes, serve to
restrain the full development of unmanned stations. For applications
in which the cost is justified, the technology is in hand to provide isotope
thermoelectric sources in the lower power ranges up to perhaps
several hundred watts and isotope heat engines in the higher power
ranges exceeding 1 kilowatt.

Data collection from the satellite station could be managed from
the base camp and fed to an Arctic Data Management Center at a location
such as Fairbanks. Space satellite communication links could be
employed.

The Voyageur Heavy Haul Hovercraft is composed of prefabricated
modules that can be transported by air to an assembly point.
Here, the modules can be bolted together to form the vehicle. Its
gross weight when assembled is 40 tons, and its payload is 20 tons
under normal conditions. This matches the C-130 capacity. The
forward 40 feet of the 64. 5-foot-long deck is flat and open for use in
hauling cargo. Again, this matches the C-130 capability; thus the
Voyageur is said to be compatible with the C-130.
Various modules can be carried on the cargo deck. Thus a pas-
senger module might be installed, or a workshop, or perhaps a drill.
Used for other purposes than described here, the practicability of
installing modules on the cargo deck would provide the vehicle an
interesting variety of capabilities for use in the Far North.

The Voyageur or similar SEV would be used both to support the
satellite station complex and to serve as a mobile station. A safe
round-trip distance with a 15, 000-pound payload would be on the order
of 200 to 250 miles. Cruise speed would be 30 knots. Range versus
payload is shown in Figure 4.

To summarize, the logistics concept suggested for support of
research activity in the arctic pack ice would use conventional commercial
transportation to northern terminals; C-130 (with air-cushion
landing gear when available) to base camps in the Arctic Ocean;
helicopters and SEV's (when available) for support of manned and unmanned
satellite stations; and SEV's to provide mobile research and
working platforms. It would be a dynamic, flexible system. The
hardware to implement the system without SEV's and air-cushion
landing gear for aircraft is available now, and full implementation of
the system is expected to be possible by 1975.

It is visualized that research and resource exploration will be
proceeding in a multiplicity of areas in the Arctic Basin; it will be
conducted by both the U. S. and the Canadian governments as well as
by commercial interests. The driving force for this activity will be
the oil and gas potential of the Arctic and the military requirements
associated with the Arctic. These considerations have been discussed
in Sections III and IV of this report. To provide logistics support for
this activity most efficiently and economically, a logistics transportation
pool, supported by and available to all interested parties,
should be established.

Arctic Logistics Support Technology (1971 ARPA symposium report)
 

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AALC FAN MODEL TEST PROGRAM (JEFF (B) & JEFF (A) related contract on behalf of ONR/Taylor)

SUMMARY

The results of tests of a 12-inch diameter model fan impeller in
several different volute casings are presented and discussed.
The impeller was a 1/5-scale model of the amphibious assault landirg
craft (AALC) JEFF(B) air cushion vehicle lift fan impellers,
and one eoject of the tests was to determine its suitability for
use in the AALC JEFF(A), whose original fans failed structurally.
In addition to performance testing, numerous velocity and pressure
surveys were performed at speeds from 2500 to 4000 rpm for a
total of five volute configurations. The results of all these
tests are presented and discussed in detail.
Comparisons are made between the test results and previous predictions
for the performance of this impeller in a Bell-designed
compact volute and in the JEFF(A) volute.
Better efficiency was obtained in the Bell volute. However,
performance in the JFFF(A) volute exceeded predictions. Consequently,
it was possible to recommend the JEFF(B) impeller,
scaled to a suitable size (about 4 feet in diameter), as a direct
replacement for the original JFFF(A) impellers without any change
to the fan casing or the gear ratio. The only other change needed
is the provision of slightly modified inlet bellmouths.
Full-scale performance predictions are provided in dimensional
and nondimensional form, and the choice of an exact full-scale
impeller diameter is discussed.
 

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From "Der Flieger", February 1961, concepts for an attack craft and a hovercraft
to supply submarines at sea.
 

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Grey Havoc

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More information on the Bell Aerospace Voyageur [Model 7380]:

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/901663.pdf

This is a study report on the feasibility of using the Bell Aerospace Company
air cushion vehicle (Voyageur) as a mobile data collection platform in the Arctic.
Specifically, the report covers seven areas where this vehicle would serve usefully
in support of Naval Arctic Research Laboratory activities.
Operational costs of the vehicle are compared with those of other vehicles currently
being used in the Arctic. The comparison shows the air cushion vehicle to be
competitive with other vehicles in many research investigations, resupply missions,
and data collection efforts.
A complete description of the vehicle is given in an appendix, along with its
special operating parameters.
 

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...
 

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Mark Nankivil

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Good Day All -

I recently bought a set of slides on EBay that were Bell Aerospace conceptual artwork for a variety of design types. Not sure what programs the attached concepts represent - any suggestions?

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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GeorgeA

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Nice ones Mark, thanks! Looks like FV-12s on the flight deck in the fourth pic BTW.
 

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I don't know if any are from actual programs, they have the look of more general promotional artwork.
 

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Moose said:
I don't know if any are from actual programs, they have the look of more general promotional artwork.

The second and third are definitely from some SES escort studies that were done in the 1960s. Not sure if they were strictly internal IR&D work or in response to Navy study tasks.

The Last one is the LVA, which was definitely a real concept, discussed here:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3666.0.html
 

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The first picture makes me wonder whether it would really be possible to land a helicopter on such a speeding hovercraft, in the turbulence of the bridge and other things in front of it?

Or is this only a more-or-ingenuous marketing representation?
 

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Mark Nankivil said:
I recently bought a set of slides on EBay that were Bell Aerospace conceptual artwork for a variety of design types. Not sure what programs the attached concepts represent - any suggestions?

No suggestions as to concepts (beyond the fore mentioned LVA) but I'm sure they would all be prefixed with AWESOME just like these pictures!
 

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TomS said:
Moose said:
I don't know if any are from actual programs, they have the look of more general promotional artwork.

The second and third are definitely from some SES escort studies that were done in the 1960s. Not sure if they were strictly internal IR&D work or in response to Navy study tasks.

The Last one is the LVA, which was definitely a real concept, discussed here:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3666.0.html

The third image is an illustration of the 3,000 ton (3,050 tonne) LSES frigate in operation alongside two Spruance class destroyers (one of them seems to be the USS USS Hewitt) in heavy weather conditions. Presence of Phalanx CIWS on the LSES strongly suggests that the image is actually from the second half of the 1970s (likely late 1977/early 1978, the timeframe when the basic design of the LSES was frozen & the Phalanx was approved for production).
 

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Grey Havoc said:
TomS said:
Moose said:
I don't know if any are from actual programs, they have the look of more general promotional artwork.

The second and third are definitely from some SES escort studies that were done in the 1960s. Not sure if they were strictly internal IR&D work or in response to Navy study tasks.

The Last one is the LVA, which was definitely a real concept, discussed here:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3666.0.html

The third image is an illustration of the 3,000 ton (3,050 tonne) LSES frigate in operation alongside two Spruance class destroyers (one of them seems to be the USS USS Hewitt) in heavy weather conditions. Presence of Phalanx CIWS on the LSES strongly suggests that the image is actually from the second half of the 1970s (likely late 1977/early 1978, the timeframe when the basic design of the LSES was frozen & the Phalanx was approved for production).

Oh, you're right about the timing; I was off a decade. Is LSES (Large SES?) related to 3KSES or were they separate efforts?
 

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Grey Havoc said:
The third image is an illustration of the 3,000 ton (3,050 tonne) LSES frigate in operation alongside two Spruance class destroyers (one of them seems to be the USS USS Hewitt) in heavy weather conditions. Presence of Phalanx CIWS on the LSES strongly suggests that the image is actually from the second half of the 1970s (likely late 1977/early 1978, the timeframe when the basic design of the LSES was frozen & the Phalanx was approved for production).

It also appears to have four banks of VLS cells.
 

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sferrin said:
Grey Havoc said:
The third image is an illustration of the 3,000 ton (3,050 tonne) LSES frigate in operation alongside two Spruance class destroyers (one of them seems to be the USS USS Hewitt) in heavy weather conditions. Presence of Phalanx CIWS on the LSES strongly suggests that the image is actually from the second half of the 1970s (likely late 1977/early 1978, the timeframe when the basic design of the LSES was frozen & the Phalanx was approved for production).

It also appears to have four banks of VLS cells.

Looks like pre-MK41. Basically the Mk 32 Standard Missile coffin launchers turned vertically, I think.
 

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TomS said:
Grey Havoc said:
TomS said:
Moose said:
I don't know if any are from actual programs, they have the look of more general promotional artwork.

The second and third are definitely from some SES escort studies that were done in the 1960s. Not sure if they were strictly internal IR&D work or in response to Navy study tasks.

The Last one is the LVA, which was definitely a real concept, discussed here:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3666.0.html

The third image is an illustration of the 3,000 ton (3,050 tonne) LSES frigate in operation alongside two Spruance class destroyers (one of them seems to be the USS USS Hewitt) in heavy weather conditions. Presence of Phalanx CIWS on the LSES strongly suggests that the image is actually from the second half of the 1970s (likely late 1977/early 1978, the timeframe when the basic design of the LSES was frozen & the Phalanx was approved for production).

Oh, you're right about the timing; I was off a decade. Is LSES (Large SES?) related to 3KSES or were they separate efforts?

Yes, they were both under Surface Effect Ship Program Office PMS-304; originally 3KSES was intended to test technologies and concepts for LSES, among other programs. However, when the LSES program's schedule was moved up (probably due to a perceived impending escort shortage) it left the planned launch dates of the 3KSES and the first unit of the LSES close together, which led to a rather unfortunate impression that the 3KSES was now a 'prototype without a clearly defined mission'. This led to 3KSES being cancelled in early December 1979 just three weeks prior to start of hull construction. Even more unfortunately, despite the urgent need for the LSES, it too was cancelled in turn in January 1980, at the direct instigation of the so-called 'Carrier Mafia', who saw LSES & the SES program in general as a major remaining obstacle to the procurement of more Nimtiz-class CVNs (more than likely they also were in the background on the 3KSES cancellation, setting the stage for their ambush on the LSES).

The apathy of the Carrier mafia to the SES program was to a degree part of the whole CVV vs CVN row that had gone on through out the 1970s; unfortunately the SES and CVV programs shared a number of high profile supporters (though somewhat ironically President Carter while a major cheerleader for the CVV was quite lukewarm towards SES). In fact LSES was actually intended to start building in late 1978 under the revised schedule, but was held up by bureaucratic manoeuvring by pro-CVN supporters within the Pentagon, among them a certain William J. Perry. (The less said about the fiasco that was ANCVE, the better; we would be here all day.)

Another reason that the Carrier mafia wanted the SES program neutered was that there were noises coming out of Congress and elsewhere that with high speed SES vessels carrying out ASW and other duties there wouldn't be a need for the USN to have as many carriers (and air wings), especially large vulnerable CVNs. To say that this was like showing a red flag to a bull would be a classic understatement.
 

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I see that more as a high speed transit, not actually launching the helicopter at those speeds.

Thanks too for the potential programs these represent - will revise the file names accordingly.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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