Boeing is to continue development of the adaptive vehicle management system (AVMS), an advanced rotorcraft flight control system, under the programme’s Phase II contract from the US Army.
Under the terms of the $18m Phase II award, the company will flight test AVMS on a series of helicopters to demonstrate portability and how improves flight performance during attack and cargo missions.
Rotorcraft being used during demonstrations include the modified H-6 helicopter, also used in Phase I, as well as the AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
Boeing AVMS programme manager James Dryfoos said: "This second phase will encompass more than 100 hours of flight test time and allow us to build on the great work we’ve accomplished over the past two years with the AATD."
Boeing Phantom works advanced mobility director Steve Glusman added that the second phase would enable the company to further expand AVMSs capabilities by continuing H-6 flight control test bed prototyping activities.
"AVMS will be a key capability in future Boeing aircraft, such as future vertical lift rotorcraft," Glusman added.
The company has already demonstrated the system’s ability in adapting flight controls of the aircraft’s condition, environment and pilot intent, using a H-6 helicopter during a series of seven separate test flights in December 2011 in Arizona, US.
A joint development project between the US Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) and Boeing, the AVMS delivers improved manoeuvrability and flight safety in addition to decreasing aircrew workload and total operating costs.
Having been under development for two years as part of the $5m Phase I contract, the fly-by-wire technology is also capable of allowing pilots to land in brown-out conditions in a desert by holding the aircraft’s attitude stability, even in low visibility conditions.