Aerial transportation is one of the critical capabilities required
for the future force. Parallel to the development of ground
combat elements of FCS, The U.S. Army is pursuing new technologies
to significantly increase its air mobility. These technologies
range from derivatives of existing capabilities, such as the
Bell/Boeing Tilt Rotor system, to the X2 counter-rotating rotor
system, which represents new potential for heavy lift capability.
At AUSA 2006, Sikorsky outlined
the latest X2 technology applications for manned and unmanned
applications, including the giant Joint
Heavy Lift (JHL) flying Crane, and High Speed Lifter helicopter,
both proposed as tactical heavy lifters for the FCS family of
vehicles. Both the JHL crane and high speed heavy lifter will
be able to lift around 40,000 lbs (around 20 tons).
The flying crane will be designed to carry outsized stores externally,
utilizing a four point witch external load handling system flying
at a top speed of 165 knots (305 km/h). The High
Speed Lifter will be able to carry the same weight internally,
flying at speed of up to 245 knots (453 km/h).
In September 2005 Sikorsky Aircraft has been awarded two US
government contracts to perform conceptual, preliminary design
for two X2 Technology heavy-lift coaxial rotorcraft. The Concept
Design and Analysis (CDA) awards from the U.S. Army's Applied
Aviation Technology Directorate (AATD) are in direct support
of evaluating joint requirements and Joint Heavy Lift rotorcraft
for the armed forces.
Bell-Boeing displayed models of its heavy lifters, based on
the tilt-rotor technology, already matured with the V-22. The
Quad Tilt Rotor (QTR) aircraft is positioned as a "transformational
Runway Independent Aircraft". The aircraft will be capable
of vertical takeoff, with cargo capacity similar to that of
a C-130J. QTR will be able to carry 106 combat troops, vehicles
and other loads weighing up to 25 tons. It will be capable of
lifting 25 – 30 tons, fly 2,100 nm unrefueled with 11
tons of payload, cruising at a speed of 275 knots. Compared
to rotary wing vehicles, QTR will be able to fly at higher altitude,
up to 25,000 feet, well above the reach of anti-aircraft fire.
A more futuristic concept pursued by Bell and Urban Aeronautics
from Israel, is the X-Hawk,
a "flying car" concept utilizing two lift fans and
two turbine powered pusher propellers providing the vehicle
lift, stability, lateral thrust and maneuverability for vertical
and horizontal flight. Its unique capabilities are promising
to revolutionize the approach to urban warfare, adding a vertical
dimension to maneuverability in the 'urban canyons'. X-Hawks
will be able to assault a face of a building, enabling troops
to assault inside through a window or evacuate the wounded for
safety. Combined with other operational tactics, these capabilities
could provide a truly force-multiplying effect.
futuristic but certainly welcome by all pilots is the Quadeye
panoramic night vision system, from Kollsman, an Elbit Systems
of America company. Quadeye provides a panoramic night vision
goggles (PNVG) covering a central 40 deg. Binocular field of
view plus monocular vision of an additional 30 degrees to either
side. The extended view is similar to the normal eye's peripheral
vision and reduces the need and degree to which panning the
head is needed when wearing goggles.