Boeing Sikorsky unveil helicopter of the future

Boeing and Sikorsky said Thursday they have the U.S. Military’s helicopter of the future.

Sikorsky Boeing JMR conceptual rendering. Contributed art.

The aviation giants have teamed up to pursue the Army’s Joint Multi-Role contract and will offer up a new breed of helicopter based on Sikorsky’s X2.

The X2 is Sikorsky’s experimental helicopter which operates with counter rotating rotors on top of the aircraft and a pusher propeller in the back. Boeing and Sikorsky are offering their plan for Phase 1 of the JMR Technology Demonstrator  program.Winning this competition could mean billions of dollars in business as the plan is to use one type of aircraft for multiple branches and platforms.

“The Sikorsky-Boeing proposal will demonstrate how X2 Technology with counter-rotating coaxial main rotors and a pusher propeller, and advanced fly-by-wire system, will deliver efficient 230-knot cruise airspeed, improved hover efficiency, and weight optimized design in an affordable package,” said Samir Mehta, president of Sikorsky Military Systems. “By leveraging our proven design, we can offer the Army reduced risk, a 100-knot improvement in speed, a 60 percent improvement in combat radius and 50 percent better high-hot hover performance.”

“The Sikorsky-Boeing team for JMR TD is truly a team of equals,” said Leanne Caret, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Vertical Lift division. “Sikorsky will take the lead role in this JMR TD Phase 1 proposal, and Boeing will take a lead role for Phase 2, for the mission systems demonstrator program.

“Our companies are fully committed to the long term nature of the Future Vertical Lift initiative and we will contribute equally in terms of capital, technological capability and risk on our path to the FVL with the Army,” said Caret.

Proposals for JMR TD Phase 1 are due to the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate by March 6, 2013. The Army is expected to announce its selection of one or more winning bids in late 2013. Demonstrator aircraft are expected to fly in 2017.

Rob Varnon