US Army to continue research on next-generation rotorcraft technologies


Rotor craft technology

The US Army is continuing research on next-generation rotorcraft technologies following a successful live-fire test in January.

The army tested a rotor blade with individual blade control technology at ARL's survivability and lethality analysis directorate's (SLAD) airbase experimental facilities.

Researchers fired three shots representing typical ground fire at a 10in-long chord rotor blade section with a 4ft-long continuous trailing edge flap (CTEF).

The test aimed to explore the ballistic vulnerability of individual blade control technologies, which are currently in development.

ARL-SLAD aviation analysis team leader Brian G. Smith said: "The purpose of this programme is to generate some limited ballistic data that could reduce risk and / or encourage Future Vertical Lift designers to consider CTEF technology."

"This technology may provide reduced noise signature, reduced vibration, enhanced rotor performance and also offer a lighter and more efficient technology."

The CTEF experiments are being conducted under the Science and Technology Red Teaming initiative, which is sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA (ALT)).

ARL Vehicle Technology Directorate senior research engineer Matthew L. Wilbur said: "We wanted to know what would happen to vehicle performance, or the rotor blade structural integrity, if it is hit by live fire in combat.

"This technology may provide reduced noise signature, reduced vibration, enhanced rotor performance and also offer a lighter and more efficient technology for flight control of the helicopter."


Image: Artist's conception of a future vertical lift aircraft. Photo: courtesy of US Army illustration.