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Boeing A160 Hummingbird (YMQ-18A)

Matej

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The most successful military commanders in history have been master logisticians in addition to master tacticians – you can’t fight effectively if you don’t have all that you need. These days computers aid logistics immensely, but they’re just about to add a whole new dimension by flying the cargo aircraft too. Boeing is the first to submit a platform for the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory's Immediate Cargo Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Demonstration Program: the A160T Hummingbird autonomous unmanned helicopter with a healthy 2,500-pound payload.

The A160T features a unique optimum-speed-rotor technology that significantly improves overall performance efficiency by adjusting the rotor’s speed at different altitudes, gross weights and cruise speeds. The pilotless aircraft is 35 feet long with a 36-foot rotor diameter, has hovered at 20,000 feet and has cruised at more than 140 knots. The A160T established a world endurance record in its class last year with an 18.7-hour unrefueled flight.

"The Marines have identified an urgent need for unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver supplies in lieu of putting trucks and personnel on dangerous roads," said John Groenenboom, A160T program manager for Boeing. "The A160T was designed from inception as a UAS with significant payload-carrying and high-altitude-operation capabilities, so we are confident in its ability to meet the requirements of this critical mission."

The demonstration contract is expected to be awarded in July. Boeing will demonstrate it can deliver 2,500 pounds of cargo per day from one simulated forward-operating base to another in fewer than six hours per day for three consecutive days. The demonstration program could lead to future business opportunities.
http://www.gizmag.com/marine-war-fighting-lab-to-examine-unmanned-cargo-helicopter/11902/
 

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amsci99

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I hear that the optimum rotor system is also employed on one of the contenders for the Heavy Lift Competition, the QRTR. Would like to know how the rotor speed is slowed, transmission gearing or through rotor tilting as employed on the Cartercopter?
 

AeroFranz

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It is my understanding that they have a two-speed transmission
 

amsci99

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Thanks for the info. Anyway I can read more about this technology. From what I see from the pic, it's using rigid rotors.

AeroFranz said:
It is my understanding that they have a two-speed transmission
 

quellish

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amsci99 said:
Thanks for the info. Anyway I can read more about this technology. From what I see from the pic, it's using rigid rotors.

AeroFranz said:
It is my understanding that they have a two-speed transmission
http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=aS-gAAAAEBAJ
 

pesholito

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An article from Flight International and an incredible cutaway drawing:
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/07/12/344075/farnborough-cutaway.html

The second link contains a larger size cutaway:

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/aircraft-pictures/2010/07/boeing-a160t-hummingbird-uav.html
 

AeroFranz

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Can't wait to get my copy. Flight's posters on UAVs have been few and far between. I wish they'd do one on MQ-1 or MQ-9...
 

flateric

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Nik

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Seems they've cut out the middle-man on ordnance replenishment...
;)
 

John21

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I have heard reports of these already being used in offensive roles by SOF in Afghanistan. Here is to hoping the Marine unmanned replenishment helicopter works out. Although I think they may have selected the Kaman K-max instead of the hummingbird(A160).
 

Grey Havoc

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John21 said:
I have heard reports of these already being used in offensive roles by SOF in Afghanistan. Here is to hoping the Marine unmanned replenishment helicopter works out. Although I think they may have selected the Kaman K-max instead of the hummingbird(A160).
[Via the UK's Daily Telegraph]

11.27 Here is the full sequence of Tweets from Sohaib Athar, ReallyVirtual on Twitter, who first, inadvertently, live-Tweeted the attack on the compound. It started with this Tweet saying that a helicopter hovering over the area was a 'rare event':

@ReallyVirtual: Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).

@ReallyVirtual: A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S

@ReallyVirtual: Since taliban (probably) don't have helicpoters, and since they're saying it was not "ours", so must be a complicated situation

@ReallyVirtual: The abbottabad helicopter/UFO was shot down near the Bilal Town area, and there's report of a flash. People saying it could be a drone.

@ReallyVirtual: Report from a taxi driver: The army has cordoned off the crash area and is conducting door-to-door search in the surrounding

@ReallyVirtual: Report from a sweeper: A family also died in the crash, and one of the helicopter riders got away and is now being searched for.

@ReallyVirtual: Uh oh, now I'm the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.

A Hummingbird being used as a support asset? The part about the helicopter 'rider' sounds like RUMINT.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Grey Havoc said:
A Hummingbird being used as a support asset? The part about the helicopter 'rider' sounds like RUMINT.
LOL. Or he could just mean 'passenger'... who of course was no longer there. But troopies late on the seen in the action of the moment would not know that. No implication whatsoever that a Hummingbird was in use. US press reports indicate three Black Hawks for the raid of which one crashed and was destroyed by its crew before evac and a Sentinel UAV for overwatch.
 

TomS

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USSOCOM is apparently not satisfied with the A160 and is handing over its examples to the regular Army.

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=425
TAMPA, Fla.—U.S. Special Operations Command will be turning over its unmanned helicopters to the Army. SOCOM will be seeking other options that better suit special operators' needs, officials said.

Army Col. Douglas Rombough, program executive officer for rotary wing at SOCOM, said that the A160 Hummingbird, built by Boeing Co., will transfer to the Army’s program executive office for unmanned aircraft systems. The Army is preparing the aircraft for a second operational assessment, he told the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference.

The Army will equip the Hummingbird with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-funded wide-area surveillance system called ARGUS-IS, the autonomous real-time ground ubiquitous sensing imaging system. Developed by BAE Systems, ARGUS is providing a “quick reaction capability” for troops in theater, he said.

The SOCOM program office previously loaned several A160 aircraft to the Army for operational assessment. Officials said they plan to transfer all of the remaining rotorcraft to the PEO-UAS. “We’re done with our effort,” said Rombough. SOCOM in 2009 had announced plans to purchase up to 20 Hummingbirds from 2012 to 2017. Last September, an A160 crashed on the flightline of an airfield in Belize, where special operations units were conducting tests of an experimental foliage penetrating radar aboard the aircraft.

Though the Hummingbird is not “SOF-unique,” Rombough added that SOCOM in the future does want an autonomous vertical take-off and landing capability that can better accommodate SOF-unique mission equipment.

The Marine Corps is pursuing two autonomous helicopter systems for cargo and resupply missions. SOF units may have an interest in a cargo UAS for stability operations missions.
 

VTOLicious

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A Boeing Frontiers article from the early days of the programme (2004). Rare pic of the (unique) rotorhead arrached.

http://www.boeing.com/news/frontiers/archive/2004/december/ts_sf04.html
Boeing's Concept Exploration pioneers new UAV development with the Hummingbird and the Maverick.
BY GLEN GOLIGHTLY​
...The 100-person group is currently working on the A160 Hummingbird, an unmanned helicopter, and the Maverick, a test bed based on a commercial helicopter...
...Maverick?​
BR Michael
 

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TomS

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Maverick was an unmanned R22, previously sold by Frontier and used by Boeing to test A160 flight control software.

http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/maverick.html
 
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