The LETHALLY SUSTAINABLE Combat Helicopter.
Bell helicopters has made public its latest rotorcraft, the Bell 360 Invictus for the US Army. The company’s competitor for the Army’s FARA (Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft) Competitive Prototype program, the 360 Invictus specialized attack helicopter is designed for the complex missions of putting across small teams of special forces into the hostile areas.
The 360 Invictus is one of the five competitors for the FARA programme, the competing aircraft design companies include Boeing, Sikorsky, Karem Aircraft, AVX Aircraft, and of course Bell. The winning platform will be replacing the Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Helicopters in the US Army’s service. In order to successfully compete Bell is trying to take advantage from its experience of the Kiowa Warrior and also from the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) project which is part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) to produce a compact, less expensive streamlined platform.
Key to this is the Invictus’ rotor system which is fully articulated, it is derived from the Bell 525 Relentless rotor system which can function at speeds of above 200 KTAS (Knots True Air Speed) which translates to 230 mph or 370 kph and thanks to this the 360 Invictus can cruise at speeds beyond 185 KTAS (213 mph/343 kph), and the lift-sharing wings (LSW) help in giving it high-speed maneuverability by taking off some of the stress from the rotors.
Some of the key features of 360 Invictus include:
- High speed flight can be achieved due to the high flapping capability achieved courtesy the robust articulated main rotor.
- Lift-sharing wing (LSW) reduces the load on the rotor in forward flight, enhancing high-speed manoeuvrability.
- Fly-by-wire flight control system— reduces pilot workload and enables autonomous flight.
- Supplemental Power Unit increases performance when more power is required.
- Combat radius: 135nm including atleast 90 minutes of on station time.
- Speed: Above 185 KTAS.
- 4k/95F Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE).
- Armed with a 20 mm cannon, integrated munitions launcher (IML) capable of integrating air-launched effects(Small Drones), future weapons capable, and ofcourse the current inventory of weapons.
- Enhanced situational awareness and sensor technologies capable.
Source : Textron