July 24, 2012
Credit: Photo: Eurocopter
MANASSAS, Va. — EADS North America is considering proposing Eurocopter’s X3 high-speed helicopter for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi Role (JMR) advanced rotorcraft technology demonstration.
The proof-of-concept X3 arrived in the Washington area July 23 on the final leg of its U.S. tour, with a flight demonstration for the press, embassy officials and EADS employees at Manassas regional airport in Virginia.
The compound helicopter, which has wing-mounted propellers in addition to the main rotor, has reached 232 kt. in level flight, 50% faster than conventional helicopters, using only 80% of available power, says Marc Paganini, president and CEO of American Eurocopter.
The JMR program is planned to demonstrate technology for the Pentagon’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative to replace current helicopters with a family of advanced rotorcraft sharing common technology.
First to be replaced, beginning in 2030 under Army plans, would be the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, with a medium utility FVL rotorcraft.
“We are very, very interested in FVL,” says Steve Mundt, vice president of business development for EADS North America. “Stay tuned as the government completes its paperwork.”
AVX Aircraft, Bell Boeing, Boeing, Sikorsky and a government team are completing concept design and analysis studies for the medium utility FVL, which will frame the requirements for one or more JMR demonstrators planned to fly in 2017.
The “paperwork” is expected “to be done by December, then the Army will put out a fact-based BAA [broad area announcement] with the performance criteria that we need to look at [for the demonstrator],” Mundt says.