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  • JMR Tech Demo -- the Concepts
    Posted by Graham Warwick 9:35 PM on Oct 31, 2011

    Now that all four teams are under contract to conduct configuration trades and analyses for the US Army's Joint Multi Role (JMR) technology demonstrator program, we have a glimpse of what they are studying for the JMR medium utility (UH-60 Black Hawk replacement) concept.

    The update comes from a presentation at an American Helicopter Society International conference last week by Ned Chase, platform technology division chief at the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD).

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    All graphics: AATD

    First we have Bell Boeing (above), not unsurprisingly focusing on a tiltrotor (the annotations show the design variables they are trading in an effort to improve performance and reduce cost). This shows a conventional tiltrotor, but Bell Boeing is also studying dual-plane proprotors for higher rotor solidity and hot-and-high performance.

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    Then we have Boeing (above), which is evaluating four initial configurations (clockwise from top right - coaxial-rotor compound, conventional compound, tiltrotor and advanced helicopter). It will down-select to the best configuration at the end of 18-month cost-sharing study (which began at the end of June).

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    Sikorsky (above) is studying three configurations (clockwise from top - tiltrotor, advanced helicopter and X2-based coaxial-rotor compound) and will carry all three three designs through to conceptual design of both the objective JMR medium utility and the technology demonstrator.

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    And finally tiny AVX Aircraft (above), which is leading an as-yet undisclosed industry team studying a coaxial-rotor, ducted-fan compound helicopter. AVX was last to be signed up, in late September, and has 15 months to complete its study.

    The goal of the configuration trades and analyses phase is to provide AATD with recommendations on design concepts and technologies for a medium utility JMR that could enter service by 2030. These will help the Army establish the battlefield payoff of specific vehicle attributes such as flying faster than 200kt, and evaluate the cost versus capability of candidate configurations.

    The studies will also result in a performance specification for the JMR technology demonstrators. That spec is scheduled to be available by mid-FY2013, when Phase 1 of the tech demo -- air vehicle development -- is planned to begin. First flights of two competing demonstrator are planned for mid-FY2017.

    Phase 2 of the tech demo cover mission system development. This is planned to begin by mid-FY2015 following the definition and laboratory-evaluation of an open "joint common architecture" (JCA) for the avionics. First flights of competing mission-system demonstrators using the JCA are planned for early FY2019.

    AATD's intent is to have all the air-vehicle and mission-system technologies to a maturity of at least TRL 6 by the end of FY2020, ready to enter full-scale development of an objective JMR platform, most likely a UH-60 Black Hawk replacement. Funding permitting, that is -- the Army admits its tech demo funding plans assume heavy industry cost sharing.

    Tags: ar99, AATD, rotorcraft

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