Helicopters of the future technology

Helicopters of the future: technology that allows pilots to focus on the fight

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, hypersonics, machine learning, nanotechnology and robotics are expected to revolutionize the battlefields of the future. The complexity of modern warfare is also putting pressure on the US military. UU. To see how technology can promote family assets, such as helicopters, to do things that were previously unimaginable.

“We are going to have to change the way we fight. We are going to have to change some of the equipment we use, and we are going to have to retrain our people so they can start thinking about the fight they will have in the future, "General James McConville, US Army Chief. Personnel said during his confirmation hearing on May 2, 2019.

These changes include next-generation helicopters that can do much more than current versions, including support systems that "can operate in a highly contested operating environment, cannot easily be isolated from the rest of the Joint Force or partners, and can independently conduct maneuver, "according to the US Army. UU. in multi-domain operations, 2028.

helicopters of the future

Helicopters proved indispensable during the Vietnam War because of their ability to move and maneuver vertically in dense jungle environments. They have continued to play a crucial role in missions ranging from combat search and rescue and air assault to MEDEVAC and reconnaissance.

The missions and threats of today and the future are different. For example, the need to penetrate beyond the reach of coalition forces in the Iraqi desert and provide ground forces surrounded by rugged mountains in Afghanistan has challenged the helicopters of the current fleet.

Some of the existing Army fleets are over 50 years old. Commanders say that the next generation of these planes will have to be faster, more maneuverable, more lethal and technologically advanced, including the ability to form teams with autonomous planes.

We will have to change the way we fight. We will have to change some of the equipment we use, and we will have to retrain our people so they can start thinking about the fight they will have in the future. ” ~ General James McConville, Chief of the US Army UU. of staff

The future is X2

Sikorsky, owned by Lockheed Martin, has been working on a new technology for decades in anticipation of this need. He calls it X2 Technology ™, and for good reason.

"X2 is twice the speed of its basic helicopter," said Bill Fell, a former Army fighter pilot and project manager with Sikorsky. "When that infantryman needs assistance, be it a MEDEVAC plane that comes to him or an assault plane that is bringing to the cavalry, when they get there twice as fast, that guy is very grateful for that."

The Future is X2

Fell says that X2 provides the futuristic capabilities that the Army is looking for, including high speed and maneuverability. It can be integrated into several types of helicopters, supporting a variety of military missions that include air assault, air movement and MEDEVAC. The company has also demonstrated technology in small helicopters that are typically used for reconnaissance, security and attack needs.

"In the last decade, we have designed, developed and flown four demonstration planes with X2 technology," said Fell. "We developed the X2 demonstrator, two S-97 Raider light tactical airplanes and the SB> 1 Defiant of medium elevation, which was created through a Sikorsky-Boeing association."

In 2010, Sikorsky showed what X2 Technology could do in a demonstration for Army officers. In addition to speed, Sikorsky says the technology includes cable flight controls, better travel performance, fast maneuverability and a clear control response due to the rigid rotor, all while maintaining a similar performance to a helicopter at low speeds.

Fell said that during the course of the simulator tests, several pilots were brought to fly a field course. “Consistently, pilots on an X2 technology plane fly faster and closer to the ground. That is a great advantage for the warrior ”, especially in high-threat environments that become more complex due to physical obstacles.

Christiaan Corry, a test pilot in the S-97 Raider program, said fly-by-wire controls, which take part in decision making, reduce the pilot's workload.

"With X2, the machine does a lot of stability," he said, "and as far as possible, it allows the pilot to fully concentrate on what the battle scene is and not worry, 'Am I flying? with the right attitude and air? speed? '"

As for the maneuverability, Sikorsky says that the technology allows great agility at low speed, acceleration without changing the altitude, a narrower turning radius and the ability to run a stationary flight down.

As the Army advances in its work to define the future of vertical elevation, X2 Technology is already showing what is possible. And Sikorsky continues to demonstrate the strength of technology in a rigorous flight testing program. Earlier this month, the vertical elevation pioneer announced its new offer based on X2, the Raider X and positioned it as a contender while the Army seeks a future attack and reconnaissance aircraft. The Army will select two prototypes of five proposals by the middle of next year.

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