As one of the contenders in the race to win a $US100 billion contract from the US government for the next generation of attack helicopter in the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program, AVX Aircraft Company has conceived a futuristic machine kitted out with coaxial rotors, ducted fans and a retractable undercarriage that could hit speeds of over 270 mph (435 km/h).
For some decades now, the US Army has been incrementally upgrading its aging fleet of helicopters, but that approach is becoming expensive and limits are being reached as to what can be added to legacy platforms. As part of the overall JMR-TD program, the US Army-led Future Vertical Lift (FVL) stage aims to replace the service’s aging helicopter fleet with the Black Hawk, Apache, and Chinook all in line to be supplanted.The AVX concept is one of those proposed to the US Army as a possible replacement.
You may remember the AVX flying car concept previously covered by Gizmag; this helicopter seems to have much in common with that design with its coaxial rotor system and ducted fan propulsion system. This latest version, however, appears to be substantially larger, stronger, and faster in every way.
With a projected weight of 27,000 lb (12,000 kg), a claimed lift capacity of 13,000 lb (5,900 kg), and a planned ability to carry 12 combat troops plus 4 crew members, this AVX concept is directly targeted as a wide-ranging replacement for many aging members of the army air wing.
Sporting a pair of stubby wings up front to provide a claimed 40 percent of overall lift at flight speed, the concept also has a rear access ramp to permit cargo loading and fast egress for troops or small vehicles. The AVX comes in an attack version with a belly turret and floor weapon doors as well.
The competitors against which the AVX concept is pitted include a combination of tilt rotor and coaxial rotor designs, with the likes of the Sikorsky S-97 Raider (a new concept based on the success of its previous X2 demonstrator), the Bell V-280 Valor, the Karem TR36TD, and the Boeing-Sikorsky SB-1 Defiant. Provided that the AVX concept can attain its impressive proposed specifications, along with its claimed high-capacity, speed, and versatility, it appears to be one very able candidate in this competition, even amongst this array of heavy-hitters.
Based in Fort Worth, Texas, AVX was created by a group of former Bell Helicopter engineers in 2005 with the goal of producing a low-cost, high-performance modification to the US Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters. Its design approach is aimed at swapping the main rotor with rigid coaxial blades, shortening the tail, removing the tail rotor, and adding twin ducted fans for higher performance, and longer range. This patented coaxial rotor, twin-ducted fan design concept forms the basis of the current JMR proposal.
The JMR-TD FVL program aims to provide flying technology demonstrations by 2017.
The short video below shows an animated version of the AVX concept in action.
Source: AVX Aircraft Company