“As an all-new design, the X2 LTH represents one extreme of the aircraft known to be on offer for the AAS requirement to replace the Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warriors. At the other extreme is start-up AVX Aircraft’s proposal to upgrade the OH-58Ds with coaxial rotors and ducted fans. In the middle is EADS North America’s offer of the AAS-72X armed derivative of the Army’s UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter.
Sikrosky’s offer comes as the company has yet to achieve its goal of exceeding 250kt with the privately funded X2 Technology demonstrator, because of flight-test delays caused by replacement of the transmission after discovery of a manufacturing flaw. The X2 is now expected to achieve its speed goal by mid-year.
Sikorsky has been displaying its LTH full-scale mock-up around the bazaars for some time, and saying it would be ready to deliver new commercial and military helicopters incorporating X2 technology in the 2015-18 timeframe. But including the LTH in its RFI response shows considerable confidence in the concept.
To recap, what Sikorsky calls X2 Technology is a combination of fly-by-wire flight controls, contra-rotating rigid rotors, low-drag hubs, active vibration control and integrated auxiliary propulsion that enables a 250kt cruise while retaining the helicopter’s low-speed agility and efficient hovering.
EADS, meanwhile, has announced at Quad-A that it will independently fund three AAS-72X demonstrators, jointly with AAS team-mates American Eurocopter and Lockheed Martin. The first will fly late this year and be used for mission-equipment integration, performance testing and survivability validation. The AAS-72X is based on Eurocopter’s commercial EC145, with Lockheed developing the mission system.”