AVX/L3Harris compound, coaxial helicopter – Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA)

Compound coaxial helicopter (CCH) is a new demonstrator aircraft being developed for the US Army future attack reconnaissance aircraft competitive prototype (FARA CP) programme.

CCH is designed and developed jointly by AVX Aircraft Company and L3 Technologies.

The aircraft is designed as part of the programme, which is set to replace approximately 50% of the AH-64 Apache fleet.

AVX

AVX Aircraft and L3 Technologies announced their participation for phase one of the FARA competitive prototype programme in December 2018. The aircraft design was revealed in April 2019.

Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft programme details

The FARA programme is part of the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme, which also includes the future unmanned aircraft system, advanced UAS, and future long-range assault aircraft (FLRAA) programmes in addition to the FARA.

The FVL programme aims to produce aircraft with high speed, low radar signature, higher payload capability, greater agility, lethality, and survivability. All the FVL category aircraft will be optionally manned aircraft with modular open system architectures and vertical take-off and landing feature.

Boeing-Sikorsky SB-1 DEFIANT: Details

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SB-1 – Lockheed Martin

The FARA programme was initiated in 2018 with a $1.9bn transactional authority prototype solicitation. The US Army shortlisted Boeing, Sikorsky Aircraft, Bell Helicopter Textron, and Karem Aircraft along with AVX Aircraft-L3 Technologies partnership for the FARA phase one competitive prototype programme. The five participants will produce competitive prototypes in accordance with the US Army requirements.

V-280 Valor Helicopter: Details

Bell

Sikorsky Aircraft will employ its Sikorsky X2 technology, which was also used for the S-97 Raider aircraft to meet and exceed the requirements of the FARA programme.

Sikorsky S-97 Raider: Details

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S-97 RAIDER – ERIC ADAMS

The US Army will shortlist two prototypes during the second phase of the FARA programme in March 2020 and allocate a fixed funding of $735m between 2020 and 2023. The FARA aircraft production is expected to begin in 2024.

AVX Aircraft

Vision of Capabilities

Building a helicopter able to sustain speeds in excess of 170 knots, achieve an overall combat range greater than 800 kilometers (combat radius of 424 kilometers) and hover with a full combat load under high/hot conditions (altitudes of 6,000 feet and 95 degrees F) are among the many capabilities sought after for the JMR.

ceros.com

Plans for the next-generation aircraft also include having a degree of autonomous flight capability or being “optionally manned,” successful weapons integration and compatibility, a core common architecture in terms of next-generation electronics, sensors and on-board avionics, manned-unmanned teaming ability and shipboard compatibility.

LONG RANGE>Enhanced Self Deployment Capability With Internal, Extended Range Fuel Tanks -ceros.com

“We’re trying to create a vision,” Chase said, referring to the effort to harness technological innovation with a mind to looking beyond current force technology and identifying possible next-generation solutions in a range of areas such as propulsion, airframe materials, rotor systems, engine technology, survivability equipment and Mission Systems, among others. Source army.mil

Compound coaxial helicopter design and features

AVX proposal for the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) via breakingdefense.com

The compound coaxial helicopter design solution is expected to completely meet or at least exceed 70% of the mandatory requirements of the FARA programme. It will meet modular open systems architecture requirements of the US Army, while allowing component reuse and system commonality across fleets.

CCH Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft will be capable of performing modern aerial warfare in challenging, complex, and degraded environments for longer duration while providing economical life-cycle cost. It is capable of hovering out of ground effect (HOGE) and carrying payloads using a sling mount.

Jane’s by IHS Markit

The aircraft will feature a modified tail boom, moderately tapered high wings, coaxial double rotors, high-mounted dual ducted fans on each side, one troop entrance door on each side, and a rear ramp for cargo and troops. The undercarriage will feature a retractable landing gear.

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vtol.org

The interior will be designed to accommodate two crew and 14 troops. A dedicated chief gunner seat will be available to perform manual firing.

Defense & Aerospace Report

Compound coaxial helicopter tail boom modification and coaxial rotors

ceros.com

AVX Aircraft’s patented tail boom modification will offer higher speed, endurance, and extended range, while eliminating the need for extra power for the anti-torque used in the conventional tail boom.

The design will feature two ducted fans, which provide forward and reverse thrust leading to higher in-flight speeds with added agility. The ducted fan is considered an effective alternative of the conventional rotor tilt propulsion.

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Jane’s by IHS Markit

The Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft’s stability will be ensured by the axial flow ducted fan along with a tail unit integrating vertical and horizontal stabilisers.

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vtol.org

The combat reconnaissance helicopter coaxial blades and wings can be folded manually, thus reducing the space requirements and meeting the C-17 loading and the Navy DDG shipboard size limits.

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Breaking Defense

Compound coaxial helicopter avionics and systems

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Jane’s by IHS Markit

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Breaking Defense

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Defense & Aerospace Report

Defense & Aerospace Report

A fly-by-wire system and advanced cockpit design will assist the pilot and crew to perform missions effectively. The aircraft will incorporate modern open system architecture along with advanced avionics systems.

Breaking Defense

The nose section will feature sensor systems as well as reconnaissance systems such as high-definition gimbal-mounted cameras. Weapon systems can be mounted on either side of the fuselage.

20mm M-197 Gatling Gun?

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Breaking Defense

The M-197 20mm Gatling gun is a lightweight, three-barrel version of the M61A1 Gatling gun intended for applications that require a lightweight, highly reliable weapon capable of firing up to 1,500 shots per minute.

The gun is specifically designed for helicopters, light-fixed-wing aircraft and small naval attack vessels. It is adaptable for turret, pod, pintle or internal installations using either linked or linkless ammunition feed systems.

20mm M-197 Specifications

Weight

132 pounds (60 kg)

Rate of fire

Up to 1,500 shots per minute

Dispersion

8.0 milliradians diameter,
80 percent circle (M50)

Muzzle velocity

3,380 feet (1,030m) per second

Average recoil force

1,300 pounds (5.8 kN)

Drive system

Hydraulic, electric, pneumatic

Feed system

Linked or linkless

Source GD

AGM-114 Hellfire

Breaking Defense

The AGM-114 Hellfire is a family of 100 lbs class laser guided missiles for use against fixed and moving targets by both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft including UAVs.

In 1974, the development of the Hellfire missile began with the U.S. Army’s requirement for an anti-armor, helicopter launched, air-to-ground missile. On March 31, 1982, Rockwell International (now Boeing) was awarded the contract to produce the AGM-114A (initial model). The first operational missiles were delivered in late 1984 and the following year, the Hellfire missile system entered service.

MODULAR AND OPEN>Weapons bay/cabin (80″ L x 53″ H x 58″ W – ceros.com

The family of Hellfire missiles includes, but is not limited to, AGM-114 B/K/K2/K2A/M/N/N-5/P/P+/R variants. These variants include shaped charge warheads (B/K/K2/K2A) for use against armored targets and blast fragmentation warheads (M/N) for use against urban structures. The AGM-114N is a thermobaric blast fragmentation warhead that maintains the capability provided by the AGM-114M while adding a unique capability against confined compartmented spaces, a typical target type observed in current combat operations. Other variants include the AGM-114 K2A which has a blast frag sleeve for use against soft-skinned tactical vehicles, the N-5 which provides a trajectory shaping capability to increase endgame lethality against vertical structures, the AGM-114P/P+ variants which include high-altitude launch trajectories for use from fixed-wing aircraft (such as the KC-130J Harvest HAWK), and the R which can be used against all Hellfire targets with a single warhead.

AVX

The AGM-114L is a variant designed specifically for use on the AH-64 Apache/Apache Longbow attack helicopter. It uses a millimeter wave (MMW) radar seeker. The L variant has an effective range of 0.5 to 8 km. To date, more than 14,000 AGM-114L missiles have been purchased by the U.S. Army and international customers.

military-today.com

The latest Hellfire variant is the AGM-114R multi–purpose Hellfire II missile, (aka Hellfire Romeo). According to the U.S. Army, the AGM-114R will replace all other Hellfire II missile configurations (K/N/M/P). The AGM-114R consolidates the capabilities of all previous Hellfire missile variants. It is equipped with semi–active laser (SAL) seekers into a single missile capable of defeating a broad range of targets. The AGM-114R can be launched from multiple air, sea and ground platforms, autonomously or with remote designation. From pre-launch to detonation, the AGM-114R employs a range of technological improvements that boost its effectiveness and utility. The AGM-114R features a three–axis inertial measurement unit, which enables properly equipped launch platforms to engage targets to the side and behind without maneuvering into position. The AGM-114R can be launched from higher altitudes than previous variants due to its enhanced guidance system and improved navigation capabilities. A new multi–purpose warhead enables the missile to defeat hard, soft and enclosed targets, which allows pilots to engage many targets with a single Hellfire loadout. The Army is currently only purchasing this variant.

Hellfire missiles are launched from Lockheed Martin/Marvin M299 and M310 missile launchers. Source fi-aeroweb.com

General Electric T700 engines

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Breaking Defense

AVX has proposed a 230-kt coaxial-rotor compound helicopter with ducted fans for propulsion and small wings to offload the rotors at high speed. The company plans to build a 70%-scale flying demonstrator, sized to use existing General Electric T700 engines. Source aviationweek.com

Defense & Aerospace Report

General Electric T700 engines

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The General Electric T700 is one of the most successful turboshaft engines ever built. Since the first T700 (the T700-GE-700) entered production in 1978, the engine has accumulated more than 50 million flight operating hours. With an installed inventory of more than 11,000, the General Electric T700 turboshaft and turboprop engines are the most widely used in their class. Also, the General Electric T700 provides great reliability and maintainability. The engine has proven itself in battle, extreme environments, and in commercial service. T700 engines currently power 25 types of civil and military helicopters as well as fixed-wing civil transport aircraft, military transport aircraft, and special-mission aircraft.

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T700-GE-701D
The newest T700 engine, the T700-GE-701D, provides the latest technologies for field-proven engines. The T700-701D comes with 1,994 shp and features 6 compressor stages and 4 turbine stages (2HP-2LP). The U.S. Army is currently upgrading its fleet of UH-60A/L Black Hawk helicopters to the UH-60M configuration, which includes upgrading the older T700-GE-700 engines to the more powerful and durable T700-GE-701D configuration. This is done with the use of GE upgrade kits. While maintaining a high commonality with the T700-GE-701C, the T700-GE-701D represents an affordable approach to improve the performance and durability of these engines. The T700-701D will power the newest Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters and Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicoptersSource fi-powerweb.com

Main material source army-technology.com

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Updated Mar 14, 2020

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