June 07, 2013
Credit: AVX Aircraft
AVX Aircraft confirms it has been selected for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) program, which aims to fly advanced-rotorcraft technology demonstrators in 2017.
The small, Fort Worth-based company has been selected to negotiate a cost-sharing agreement as a “Category 1” participant in Phase 1 of the JMR technology demonstration, as have Bell Helicopter and a Sikorsky/Boeing team.
Category 1 proposals “are recommended for acceptance and funding is available,” according to Army contracting language. The Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate says it has $213 million available to fund all Phase 1 awards.
The Army’s hopes of funding at least two air-vehicle demonstrators in Phase 1 depend on the degree of industry cost-sharing. The service is negotiating technology investment agreements with each of the Category 1 participants.
It is not known whether any other bidders were classified as Category 1, or Category 2, for which funding is not always available. EADS North America withdrew its proposal for JMR to focus company resources on the Army’s Armed Aerial Scout requirement.
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.
Bell Helicopter has proposed a 280-kt. tiltrotor, while Sikorsky Boeing has proposed a 230-kt. rigid coaxial-rotor/pusher-propulsor compound helicopter based on Sikorsky’s X2 configuration. The Army is looking to demonstrate at least 230 kt. cruise speed.
JMR TD is a precursor to the Army’s proposed Future Vertical Lift Medium program to develop an advanced rotorcraft family to replace first the utility Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk beginning in the mid-2030s, then the attack Boeing AH-64 Apache.