Emergence of Next Generation Combat Helicopters

From simple casualty evacuation to progressively offensive roles including attack, anti-tank, suppressing enemy air defenses, surveillance and observation, airlift of soldiers and resupply. Helicopters have undergone significant technological advancement. The next generation combat helicopters focus on characteristics such as reduced radar cross section and detectability, reduced operational noise, improved situational awareness with the help of advanced sensors, advanced avionics and increase speed.

UNITED STATES

Future Attack Recon Aircraft (FARA) and Future Long Range Assault Aircraft are the two core programmes of the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative (FLRAA). FLRAA’s competitive demonstration effort aims to present a preliminary concept design for a helicopter that will eventually support and, eventually, replace the Army’s fleet of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in duties such as swift assault medical evacuation. Overall, the Apache, Black Hawk, and Kiowa Warrior will be replaced by the FVL programme. The largest rotorcraft programme of the U.S. Army since the Vietnam War will choose a winner. The service will choose the replacement for its ubiquitous UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter as part of its Future Vertical Lift modernization programme. There is little doubt that the replacement will perform significantly better than the old Black Hawk, which the Army refers to as a “future long-range attack aircraft.” For many years to come, the Army plans to purchase 60. Two teams are vying for the prize; one is led by TextronTXT , while the other is a collaboration between Boeing and Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky. 

In order to advance the task of the ground maneuver commander and carry out the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) concept, the Bell 360 Invictus is reinventing attack reconnaissance capabilities. The tandem-cockpit, single-main-rotor Bell 360 Invictus is built to fly at least 180 knots in order to meet the requirement. The pilot and co-pilot sit in a tandem configuration, one behind the other, in the forward section of the fuselage. Bell claims that its architecture is not particularly well-suited for radio-frequency low-observability (stealth). 2 X 4 rail weapon racks, one on either side of the center fuselage. These racks hang on rails below the stub wings of the helicopter when they are deployed, but for best performance, they can be retracted and stowed internally when not in use. An XM915 20mm three-barrel Gatling-type automatic cannon are present on this helicopter.

The RAIDER X®, a fast, agile, and resilient compound coaxial helicopter design from Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin business, to deal with growing peer and near-peer threats in the most challenging circumstances. The eco system uses modern technology to replace routine maintenance and inspections with self-monitoring and condition-based maintenance in order to reduce the cost of operating the aircraft and providing flexible maintenance operation periods. Avionics and mission systems built on the Modular Open System Architecture (MOSA) provide “plug-and-play” alternatives for computing, sensors, survivability, and weaponry, facilitating competitive purchases and operational mission customization.

 

RUSSIA

The Russian Air Force’s Ka-50 Black Shark fleet will be replaced with the Ka-52. The helicopter is 16m in length, 4.9m in height, and 14.5m in diameter for its main rotor. The Ka-52 can carry a maximum takeoff weight of 10,800kg. In a side-by-side configuration, two crew members can sit in the cockpit’s twin seats. On identical K-37-800M ejection seats are both crew members seated. The head-up display (HUD), four SMD 66 multifunction screens, helmet-mounted sight display, image intensifiers, and GPS receiver are all included in the contemporary glass cockpit. Additionally, the helicopter incorporates an FAZOTRON cabin desk radio-locator and a helicopter navigation and attack system (NASH).

CHINA

A new type of helicopter with an innovative design has completed its first flight, according to China’s top helicopter manufacturers. This prototype aircraft will help to create the next-generation, high-performance helicopter for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).The new helicopter might be significantly faster, stealthier, or have a heavier takeoff weight than most current models. It may also have an entirely different aerodynamic design.

INDIA

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), a major aerospace company, has begun preliminary work on an ambitious project of strategic significance: a 10–12 tonne assault helicopter that will be competitive with some of the world’s top medium-lift military helicopters, such as the Apache of Boeing, by 2027. The helicopter’s preliminary design has been completed by HAL, and the first goal is to build at least 500 of them, with the first prototype expected to be ready by 2023.

Significant losses have been sustained by the combat helicopter fleets of both Russia and Ukraine, particularly at the hands of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, also referred to as Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS). The next generation attack helicopter designs would have to include a defensive suite to protect it against contemporary air defense threats and the capabilities required to break through them.

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