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JMR (Joint Multi-Role) & FVL (Future Vertical Lift) Programs

yasotay

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I do not think NATO is interested in JMR/FVL for tactical combat in Europe, but for all of the "away" missions it finds itself involved in with our wonderful multi-polar world. Range and speed to get to a point have become a necessity

The problem is requiring both range AND speed AND affordability. Pick two... unlikely that all three can be achieved.
You point is well taken. However I think like any engineering problem, one looks for the best compromise that lets you achieve the desired end state. Certainly the OEM realize that a product that is too expensive is not likely to attract purchase orders. If I recall correctly at least one of the vendors has said they expect to have a price tag like the AH-64E. Don't know if that is one that remains or not.
 

H_K

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The OEMs will sell you anything. Doesn’t mean they (or the customer) is right.

For example, an MV-22 costs 2.5x CH-47F but has a 40% smaller cabin. It also requires 20% more horsepower and carries more structural weight.

So which is the more efficient choice? No one can avoid the laws of physics.
 
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TomcatViP

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It can also make 2.5 more rotations in the same time.
Add deployment time and the ratio might increase 10 folds with FVL (no airlift or ocean crossing on a cargo ship).
Don't forget that up to Osprey, airborne assault was a tactical thing... It now projects on the strategic scale.

There is no doubts Europeans might want that.
 

VTOLicious

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Handy chart showing the relationship between discloading and downwash velocity.
The V-22 sits around 22 lb/ft2 and is not *very* pleasant to stand beneath.
Tilt-wings are anywhere between 30-50 lbs/ft2, so it only gets worse.
View attachment 642365

*for metric heads ;)

  • 9 lb/ft² = 44 kg/m²
  • 22 lb/ft² = 107 kg/m²
  • 30 - 50 lb/ft² = 146 - 244 kg/m²
If memory serves well the disc loading of Robinson's R22 is around 4 lb/ft² = 20 kg/m²
 
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yasotay

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To pile on to @TomcatViP before the MV-22 there was no such thing as a SPMAGTF in the USMC now there are 5 or 6 and they have to some extent replaced the ready brigade of the 82 ABN DIV. One of the more well known missions was from Spain to Juba (sp), South Sudan. For reference that would be an air assault from Anchorage Alaska, to Jacksonville, Florida. The closest (know) mission was into Afghanistan with MH-47. An aircraft that cost as much as an MV-22. The aircraft are designed to different missions. Any guess how much a fully marinized 47 would cost? How much lifting capability it would loose? Can you store as many on a ship? FYI the MV-22 "box" is the same size as the aircraft it replaced, the CH-46. A requirement specified by the USMC in the initial capabilities requirement document.
 

TomS

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before the MV-22 there was no such thing as a SPMAGTF in the USMC

Special Purpose MAGTFs have been around for a lot longer than that -- they were often organized for specific battle experiments or exercises back at least into the 1990s.

The Osprey is associated more with the SPMAGTF-CR (Crisis Response), sometimes also referred to as a Special Forces MAGTF. They have largely supplanted the older FAST Companies as the Marines' primary rapid-response force.
 

yasotay

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@TomS Thank you for the correction, it is easy for me to get naval terms mixed up. None-the-less the aggregation of the MV-22 with the MC-130 has given the USMC and the National Command Authority much more flexibility that it has had in the past. The USMC has not passed up on the opportunity to remind Congress of that.
 

TomS

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@TomS Thank you for the correction, it is easy for me to get naval terms mixed up. None-the-less the aggregation of the MV-22 with the MC-130 has given the USMC and the National Command Authority much more flexibility that it has had in the past. The USMC has not passed up on the opportunity to remind Congress of that.

Absolutely. I think it's important because I don't think people realize how absolutely transformative Osprey has been. When stuff started going down in Baghdad back in December last year, they reinforced with two units -- a SPMAGTF-CR element from Kuwait that flew direct to the Embassy and a battalion from the 82nd Immediate Response Force that flew in behind the SPMAGTF to reinforce Kuwait. But the unspoken part of that was that there was no easy way for the 82nd to get directly into the Embassy without pulling in a ton of extra assets. They'd have to land somewhere else (hopefully in Baghdad) and drive or walk to the Embassy.

 

yasotay

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H_K

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Huh? That’s the most misleading headline ever.

Hitting 211 knots in level flight is not the same as “meeting the US Army’s speed goal” of 230kts. Also, is that all the improvement they could muster, since they hit 205 knots four months ago?

Here’s the real headline, corrected for you:

“SB-1 progress continues to disappoint, with meagre 6 knot speed gain leaving it far short of US Army requirement.”
 
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yasotay

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I doubt they fooled much of anyone associated with the FVL program.
 

jsport

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@TomS Thank you for the correction, it is easy for me to get naval terms mixed up. None-the-less the aggregation of the MV-22 with the MC-130 has given the USMC and the National Command Authority much more flexibility that it has had in the past. The USMC has not passed up on the opportunity to remind Congress of that.

Absolutely. I think it's important because I don't think people realize how absolutely transformative Osprey has been. When stuff started going down in Baghdad back in December last year, they reinforced with two units -- a SPMAGTF-CR element from Kuwait that flew direct to the Embassy and a battalion from the 82nd Immediate Response Force that flew in behind the SPMAGTF to reinforce Kuwait. But the unspoken part of that was that there was no easy way for the 82nd to get directly into the Embassy without pulling in a ton of extra assets. They'd have to land somewhere else (hopefully in Baghdad) and drive or walk to the Embassy.

Neither the USArmy or USMC have anywhere near what could be called an immediate reaction force that would not characterized as "too dumb to run and too light to fight"in even a Hybrid, let alone a High Intensity contingency. Shamefull. No "not runway dependant" transport is even on the horizon.
 

yasotay

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Apparently dropped from BD website.

FVL: Army’s High-Speed Helicopters Hurtle Ahead

(Breaking Defense, Oct. 16, Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.)

Despite disruptions due to COVID-19, development of the Future Vertical Lift family of manned and unmanned aircraft remains on track, Army officials tell me.

“COVID continues to throw us curveballs; so far we’ve been able to hit them,” said Brig. Gen. Walter Rugen, the FVL director at Army Futures Command. “Sometimes we’re hitting singles and bunting and doing a lot of hard work to score runs.”

Rugen and his acquisition corps counterpart – Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie, the Program Executive Officer for Aviation – oversee the simultaneous development of two different manned aircraft, two types of drones, a host of supporting systems from engines to guns, and a shared Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA) meant to ensure all these technologies are compatible and interconnected. (A third type of drone, the Advanced UAS, remains in the concept stage). The two men updated me recently on FVL progress, since the normal briefings at this week’s AUSA conference were largely curtailed by COVID.

The most urgent program in the portfolio is the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), a high-speed light scout to replace the retired OH-58 Kiowa. The two contenders, Bell (part of Textron) and Sikorsky (Lockheed Martin), are about to submit their final designs.

“Our Final Design & Risk Review comes in November of this year,” Barrie told me. After that, he said, “those competitive prototype designs will be locked.”

Even though those designs aren’t 100 percent, both competitors have already started building their FARA prototypes. Work began this week on the Bell 360 Invictus, the company told me; that’s rapid, considering that the company only unveiled the winged helicopter design last fall. But Sikorsky is arguably ahead: The Lockheed subsidiary says it began building components of its Raider-X, a compound helicopter, way back in 2019, even before it was awarded a contract to build the prototype – and Raider-X derives from the company-funded S-97 Raider, which has been flying and racking up test data for five years.

Both competitors must be ready to fly by the fall of 2022 (the first quarter of fiscal year 2023), with the Army picking a winner in 2023. Those are deadlines not only for Bell and Sikorsky, but also for the Army, which is providing major portions of both aircraft as Government-Furnished Equipment:

Both aircraft will be armed with a new 20mm cannon, the General Dynamics XM915, which will start live-fire testing this month at Ethan Allen Test Range in Vermont, before moving to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. “We’re going to shoot a couple hundred thousand rounds through that,” Rugen said.

Both aircraft will also carry a Modular Effects Launcher now being developed to launch, not just missiles and rockets, but multi-purpose mini-drones called Air-Launched Effects (ALE). In August, the Army awarded 10 contracts for different aspects of ALE: Three companies are competing to build the drone itself, three are competing for the digital mission system architecture, and four are building different payloads. The Modular Effects Launcher, meanwhile, should be ready for flight test next year – installed on a surrogate aircraft, since the FARA prototypes will still be under construction – when it will be used in October’s Project Convergence 21 wargames.

Both aircraft will be powered by the General Electric’s T901 Improved Turbine Engine, which will also be retrofitted to existing helicopters. GE won the engine contract last year and is still finalizing their design. “This summer, despite many challenges with COVID, we’ve been able to execute a Critical Design Review,” Barrie told me, with the first full-up engine beginning testing late next year.

One crucial component, however, will not be fully ready when FARA begins its flight tests in late 2022: the Modular Open System Architecture.

MOSA isn’t a physical component of an aircraft, but a set of standards and interfaces that define how all the components work together. The idea is to ensure all the electronics on all the different FVL aircraft, not just FARA, are not only compatible with each other but easy to upgrade. Rather than pay the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to laboriously integrate new technology, as happens today, Army should be able to swap in new components from competing manufacturers at will, as long as they all comply with MOSA standards.

The Army’s already tested a very early version of MOSA on modified MQ-1C Grey Eagle drones during experiments in 2019 and 2020 at China Lake, Ca. and Yuma, Ariz. “We were able to put 27 technologies very rapidly onto Gray Eagle, without going back to the OEM,” Rugen told me, and without having to recertify the aircraft as safe to fly each time, since MOSA lets the flight controls stay unchanged even as other components are replaced.

But the Army wants to scale MOSA up from two dozen technologies on one type of drone to hundreds of technologies across all the manned and unmanned aircraft – not only in the Future Vertical Lift family, but in the existing fleet, using an upgrade called the Avion Mission Common Sever (AMCS) to let you plug MOSA-compliant components into existing Black Hawks, Apaches, and Chinooks.

Making all those different pieces fit together is a tremendous task.

MOSA is “one of the most challenging things we have do,” Barrie told me, less because of the technology itself than because of all the independent actors who must sign on. The official Architecture Collaboration Working Group, which brings together companies, universities, and government agencies to work on MOSA, has over 400 members.

“It’s not necessarily challenging technically,” Barrie told me. “We can describe interfaces and standards that exist [already]. What we’re focusing on is how do we do governance.”

MOSA has made major progress in the last six months, Rugen said, with increasingly enthusiastic participation from industry and increasing consensus on how it should work. But the architecture will not be complete until after the FARA prototype designs are locked later this year.

“There’s no doubt we’re challenged on schedule,” Barrie acknowledged. “Those competitive prototypes [for FARA] will have some instantiation of an open system approach.” But it’s too early to say how advanced that version of MOSA will actually be, or how much revision it will require before FARA is ready to enter mass production.

“We have not yet described here’s exactly how we’re going to do systems integration,” Barrie said. “We don’t want to yet constrain the problem.”

Instead, the Army will ask companies to propose their own rival versions of MOSA, as part of the competition for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), the FVL replacement for the Black Hawk. The formal Request For Proposals (RFP) for FLRAA will come out later this year.

How well each competing proposal handles MOSA “will be a critical aspect of how we determine which FLRAA competitor we eventually go with,” Barrie said.

The two leading competitors for FLRAA are, once again, Sikorsky – this time teamed with Boeing – and Bell. Bell’s prototype is V-280 Valor, a tiltrotor derived from the V-22 Osprey: Valor has been in flight tests since late 2017, racking up over 180 flight hours and exceeding the 280 knot (322 mph) top speed for which it’s named. Sikorsky and Boeing, by contrast, are playing catchup: Their SB>1 Defiant has 23 flight hours so far – plus hundred more in ground tests and simulations – and has reached a speed of 211 knots (242 mph) in level flight.

Even as flight tests on the prototypes continue, both companies are now developing their final designs for FLRAA. The Army is set to pick a winner in 2022.
 

TomcatViP

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BAE Systems has been awarded multiple contracts from the U.S. Army to develop key technologies for the Advanced Teaming Demonstration Program (A-Team). BAE Systems was the only company awarded contracts for three of the program’s four focus areas, designed to advance manned and unmanned teaming (MUM-T) capabilities that are expected to be critical components in the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program.
[...]
BAE Systems was selected to deliver a highly automated system to provide situational awareness, information processing, resource management, and decision making that is beyond human capabilities. These advantages become exceedingly important as the Army moves toward mission teams of unmanned aircraft that will be controlled by pilots in real time.
 

yasotay

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I was informed today that five EU nations (NATO) have signed a MOA to develop a new medium helicopter.
Below is my estimation of the aircraft that will come from this study.

Please no bluster, it is done in jest.
 

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H_K

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@yasotay That’s the best case scenario. The worst case is the Brits win the design leadership after a drunken round of beer and fish & chips at the local pub and come up with something like this :p

 

TomS

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@yasotay That’s the best case scenario. The worst case is the Brits win the design leadership after a drunken round of beer and fish & chips at the local pub and come up with something like this :p

Oh god, is there an H-34 buried under that bloat?

I believe that's the second Westminster prototype, so the dynamics are a hybrid of S-56 (CH-37) and S-64 (CH-54). Honestly it's an upgrade over the H-37.
 

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