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Bell V280 Valor or Sikorsky and Boeing Defiant

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  • Bell V280 Valor or Sikorsky and Boeing Defiant

    The US Army is looking to eventually upgrade it's Blackhawk fleet and the Bell V280 Valor and Sikorsky/Boeing Defiant are the two competitors. With a quick look at the two, it seems like the V280 would be the more ideal choice. It's still early and little is known about the Defiant but I could see Bell getting the utility copter deal and the Sikorsky S-97 Raider receiving the attack helo deal.


    V280





    Bell unveils the V280 Valor Tilt Rotor Aircraft at AUSA 2014 | Defense Update:


    Defiant



    Valor and Defiant to race for future Army $100 Bn helicopter replacement program | Defense Update:
    Attached Files

  • #2
    If the proposed helicopters show no marginal improvements, why call for a new design? Just stick with the time proven design and save a bunch of money on R&D. The new designs can't go faster and doesn't really save on fuel to make any noticeable difference in military operations. Do the new designs carry more payload and significant range in same weight class?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
      If the proposed helicopters show no marginal improvements, why call for a new design? Just stick with the time proven design and save a bunch of money on R&D. The new designs can't go faster and doesn't really save on fuel to make any noticeable difference in military operations. Do the new designs carry more payload and significant range in same weight class?
      Ummm, they both have >50% faster cruising speed than the Blackhawk with similar range. The Defiant will have much better hot-high hover performance, better low speed maneuverability than any conventional helicopter, and will probably be significantly quieter too. The V280 will probably go faster and even farther than the Defiant while having better maneuverability than the V-22 Osprey.

      These are not marginal improvements.

      http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...efiant-404763/

      Edit: The V280 will also have much greater range, while the Defiant will have a significantly larger cabin.
      Last edited by citanon; 16 Oct 14,, 02:29.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by citanon View Post
        Ummm, they both have >50% faster cruising speed than the Blackhawk with similar range. The Defiant will have much better hot-high hover performance, better low speed maneuverability than any conventional helicopter, and will probably be significantly quieter too. The V280 will probably go faster and even farther than the Defiant while having better maneuverability than the V-22 Osprey.

        These are not marginal improvements.
        Ok my mistake. Are those marginal improvements worth the cost of the new design? IIRC the estimated flyway cost of the new design would be today's price, $64 million dollars. The Blackhawk is $21 million dollars. V-22 Osprey is nearly 70 million dollars. V280 can fly faster and farther than a V-22 Osprey but can only carry up to 11 men while Osprey can carry up to 24 men. The capabilities of V-22 overlap with the new design way too much, IMHO, that it doesn't make sense to go for such a design that nearly cost the same price of a V-22 Osprey. Now if it was half the price, yeah I could go for it.

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        • #5
          Bell has designs for attack variants of the V-280, and shipboard (folding-wing) variants as well. Those models pictured are last year's version of the design, which has been updated quite a bit since.

          I'm real curious to see more details of the Boeing/Sikorsky design, other than the same old concept paintings. I know it will be a scaled-up S-97, and given how much space the engine and drivetrain takes up of that fuselage, I'm not so sure the V-280 will be at any disadvantage for cabin space.

          V-280 is mechanically simplified in many ways compared to the V-22, and I expect the price and reliability will reflect that.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
            Ok my mistake. Are those marginal improvements worth the cost of the new design? IIRC the estimated flyway cost of the new design would be today's price, $64 million dollars. The Blackhawk is $21 million dollars. V-22 Osprey is nearly 70 million dollars. V280 can fly faster and farther than a V-22 Osprey but can only carry up to 11 men while Osprey can carry up to 24 men. The capabilities of V-22 overlap with the new design way too much, IMHO, that it doesn't make sense to go for such a design that nearly cost the same price of a V-22 Osprey. Now if it was half the price, yeah I could go for it.

            New aircraft always costs more than continuing production lots, but if these new aircraft are successful I would not expect them to be less affordable than legacy aircraft of similar class. The country also grows wealthier over time so these systems will become even more affordable on a comparative basis eventually.

            The SB>1 Defiant's capabilities are revolutionary for certain roles unmeetable by the Osprey. I would say that it is more than worthwhile. We will have to see about the improved tilt rotor. The design is supposed to make significant gains in maneuverability and reliability. The Osprey, as it stands, simply cannot do the job of a Blackhawk.

            I do think it would not be sensible to use the improved tiltrotor as an attack helicopter. I mean, just look at the concept, it's just asking to shoot itself down.

            Attached Files

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            • #7
              That picture is pretty much the updated design, except for the protruding landing gear pods have since been eliminated. Those weapons bays (forward and side firing) are conformal bays, utilizing what would be the cabin space in utility variants.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dan_Bickell View Post
                That picture is pretty much the updated design, except for the protruding landing gear pods have since been eliminated. Those weapons bays (forward and side firing) are conformal bays, utilizing what would be the cabin space in utility variants.
                The clearance from forward pitched propellers and other aircraft components seems tight.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
                  If the proposed helicopters show no marginal improvements, why call for a new design? Just stick with the time proven design and save a bunch of money on R&D. The new designs can't go faster and doesn't really save on fuel to make any noticeable difference in military operations. Do the new designs carry more payload and significant range in same weight class?
                  Blackhawks are wearing out, and army needs to spend its budget on something...or risk losing it.

                  A compromise design would be an evolved version of Blackhawk. Cheaper to develop with some improvements. After all, C-130 is still being produced in an updated version 50 years after first flight.

                  I have reservations about the V280. It requires a lot of clearance for those 2 rotors. That may not be a good thing.
                  "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gunnut View Post
                    A compromise design would be an evolved version of Blackhawk. Cheaper to develop with some improvements. After all, C-130 is still being produced in an updated version 50 years after first flight.
                    I agree, they should be taking a hard look at a new-build 21st Century version of the Blackhawk.

                    After all, look at the AH-1/UH-1, H-47 and H-53. All of them have brand new versions either built or building. Even the Navy did an updated version of the H-60 to suit their current needs.
                    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gunnut View Post
                      Blackhawks are wearing out, and army needs to spend its budget on something...or risk losing it.

                      A compromise design would be an evolved version of Blackhawk. Cheaper to develop with some improvements. After all, C-130 is still being produced in an updated version 50 years after first flight.

                      I have reservations about the V280. It requires a lot of clearance for those 2 rotors. That may not be a good thing.
                      I think the performance envelope of a military helicopter design is maxed out as it can be without incurring huge significant costs for a little more than marginal improvements that are of utility. Any more exotic designs like V-22 design and you are talking about changing entire set up of using and maintaining a helicopter fleet from the get go.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by citanon View Post
                        The clearance from forward pitched propellers and other aircraft components seems tight.
                        It is somewhat tight in the forward pitched configuration, though there is still a couple of feet of clearance. I think this is why they redesigned the landing gear, getting rid of the pod that protrudes behind the cockpit that lessened the clearance and was in the way of the forward firing weapon bays.

                        One big improvement over the V-22 design is that the engines do not rotate and never point their exhaust at the ground. The straight wing allows for a simpler drive train between the engines, and one engine can power both props if necessary. It can transition from forward flight to hover more quickly, and would always be in "helicopter" mode when firing weapons or landing and taking off.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dan_Bickell View Post
                          It is somewhat tight in the forward pitched configuration, though there is still a couple of feet of clearance. I think this is why they redesigned the landing gear, getting rid of the pod that protrudes behind the cockpit that lessened the clearance and was in the way of the forward firing weapon bays.

                          One big improvement over the V-22 design is that the engines do not rotate and never point their exhaust at the ground. The straight wing allows for a simpler drive train between the engines, and one engine can power both props if necessary. It can transition from forward flight to hover more quickly, and would always be in "helicopter" mode when firing weapons or landing and taking off.
                          I think this is a good concept for the V-22 role, but you really have to wonder what happens if this aircraft has to maneuver violently while firing it's missiles. It's probably more suited to a belly pod (Air Wolf anyone?) or firing out the back ramp.

                          Always going into helicopter mode seems iffy to me. With that much moving mass and machinery, what would the reliability like?

                          I think this thing would be a game changer for the Army in the cargo and transport role, but no so sure about those other roles.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by citanon View Post
                            I think this is a good concept for the V-22 role, but you really have to wonder what happens if this aircraft has to maneuver violently while firing it's missiles. It's probably more suited to a belly pod (Air Wolf anyone?) or firing out the back ramp.

                            Always going into helicopter mode seems iffy to me. With that much moving mass and machinery, what would the reliability like?

                            I think this thing would be a game changer for the Army in the cargo and transport role, but no so sure about those other roles.
                            The design as it stood a year ago did include conformal belly weapons bays on the attack variants, but they got rid of it. None of the V-280 designs I've seen had a back ramp, as it is a much smaller airframe than V-22 (similar footprint to H-60, and the shipboard variants fold up to fit in the same space as an H-60).

                            As far as having to maneuver when firing missiles, I wouldn't think it would have any problem that an AH-64 wouldn't also have. Having 2 counter-rotating rotors with all the fly-by-wire computer control should make it the more stable weapons platform with better maneuverability.

                            However, the SB-1 Defiant should also have a good measure of maneuverability beyond what conventional helicopters are capable of. The S-97 pusher prop is a clutched system that can disengage and reverse, and has elevators and rudders and all the fly-by-wire bells and whistles as well. The X-2 prototype is certainly fast, but I wonder about how well that scales to bigger airframes. Sikorsky doesn't expect the S-97 to be as fast as the X-2, and I would assume the bigger SB-1 will get slower as well. Sikorsky has gone to rigid rotors because of the proximity of the counter-rotating dual rotors, which are closer to each other than the V-280 props ever get to the fuselage.

                            V-280 should have an edge on speed and altitude and high temp environments. SB-1 might be more maneuverable. It will certainly be interesting to see how the demonstrators actually perform once they are flying, which we should get a taste of by the end of the year with the S-97.

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                            • #15
                              The Defiant reminds me of Kamov's designs, and brings out a doubt I've had: because of the 2-rotor mast, how much taller is the heli? That could bring problems related to geting them aboard ships, or storing them in small hangars that fit today's copters...
                              Last edited by jlvfr; 17 Oct 14,, 16:08.

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