European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

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AndyC
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European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

Post by AndyC »

Despite the imminent approach of Brexit the UK has shown it is still interested in taking part in multinational European collaborative projects.

The Medium Multi-Role Helicopter programme was signed off on November 19th 2020 by France, Germany, Greece, Italy and the UK.

For more see https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_178952.htm

In the UK, the MMRH is likely to replace the Merlin and Puma helicopters from 2035.

Lord Jim
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Re: European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

Post by Lord Jim »

Well at least when it comes to Rotorcraft they will be a single competitor to the next generation US offering(s). It will be interesting to see which route we go down, conventional or unconventional like the US.

Jdam
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Re: European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

Post by Jdam »

Lord Jim wrote: conventional or unconventional like the US.
You thinking maybe a tilt rota design?

J. Tattersall

Re: European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

Post by J. Tattersall »

AndyC wrote: In the UK, the MMRH is likely to replace the Merlin and Puma helicopters from 2035.
RAF's Puma cabs will be 60 to 65 years old by then.

J. Tattersall

Re: European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

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Lord Jim
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Re: European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

Post by Lord Jim »

Jdam wrote:You thinking maybe a tilt rota design?
Or one with a pusher prop and/or wings to increase lift/speed and range.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

While our interim medium helo is likely to be as 'interim' as the Stryker, we will be topping up at a later stage (Merlins, and also the over-represented heavy end in the form of Chinooks)
and hence looking at some of the salient points of the US competition might be useful in trying to understand how the european prgrm will shape.
- the nature of the linked article is an 'ad', but regardless
https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/ne ... space.html
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

Lord Jim
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Re: European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

Post by Lord Jim »

After a decade or so where European Helicopter manufacturers were ahead of the US in new designs and evolutionary technologies, the US is taking the lead again with its various Rotorcraft programmes. The Army's programme for both a fast transport to replace the Blackhawk and a fast well armed Recce platform to take on the role previously handled by the Kiowa Warrior and replace some of the older Apaches, is the one we really need to keep tabs on. The are revolutionary designs which is contrary to Europe's prefers evolutionary process, and any European programme has got to get all its national ducks in a line for the programme to have a chance at matching the US.

If Europe hope to gain exports for its new helicopters they either have to nearly match the US offerings which also include the CH-53K, as well as being much cheaper to buy and operate. This is going to be a hard act to accomplish, just look at the Tigre and NH-90, which produced very capable platform, eventually, but their cost was equal to if not more than the US option before any "Governmental", discounts come into play.

My opinion is that Europe needs to first clearly define what the platform's role(s) is/are and set these in stone before anything else. The requirements should not be to shoot for he stars, but be what is the minimum at first, to meet the Customer's requirements, and build in a little room for future improvements later on. We still need to take the evolutionary approach to keep costs in check, I men just look how long the Puma and its renamed descendants have been in service and production, nearly fifty years!! The design has kept evolving and increasing its capabilities whilst retaining its original goals. there is a lesson here I am sure. Could an evolved slightly large and more powerful NH-90 meet Europe's future needs? Will the best form Leonardo and Airbus be mixed to together to create a world beater in capability levels achieved by an affordable platform?

Early days but you need to get things right straight out of the gate including preliminary discussions.

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Re: European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

Post by SW1 »

What’s revolutionary about the US designs?.

The European manufacturers have taken a large proportion of the civil market particularly oil and gas offshore. While the aircraft may look similar the use of fly by wire, autopilot options, electric actuators as well as composite structures among other things have improved considerably reliability and safety.

The US has prioritised speed but as a rule of thumb for every 50% increase in speed acquisition costs rise by 20% and thru life costs rise by 25%.

The basic requirements for a medium helicopter haven’t really changed that much, which is why the legacy designs remains as popular as they are.

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Re: European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

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SW1 wrote:What’s revolutionary about the US designs?.

The European manufacturers have taken a large proportion of the civil market particularly oil and gas offshore. While the aircraft may look similar the use of fly by wire, autopilot options, electric actuators as well as composite structures among other things have improved considerably reliability and safety.

The US has prioritised speed but as a rule of thumb for every 50% increase in speed acquisition costs rise by 20% and thru life costs rise by 25%.

The basic requirements for a medium helicopter haven’t really changed that much, which is why the legacy designs remains as popular as they are.
Re the new US helos, the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft  (Bell V-280 vs Sikorsky–Boeing Defiant X) with approx double the speed of the Blackhawk and a Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (Bell 360 vs Sikorsky Raider X) hasn't been met with universal acclaim in US, ret'd General Thomas Spoehr of The Heritage Foundation, questioned why the US Army has placed Future Vertical Lift # 3 of its six modernisation priorities and suggests efforts to procure the two new helicopters bottom of his list.

How would the expensive FLRAA survive any better against near-peer sophisticated integrated air defense capabilities like those of Russia and China even if speed increased from 150 to 300 knots (understand US lost ~50% of its helos in Vietnam, Wikipedia quotes 5,607). The other downside might be costs, double that of a Blackhawk? and in times of flat budgets in US, especially as hinted Army budget will be cut to fund USN priorities due to Chinese threat, the helo fleet size might end up half that it is now! No reason for the British Army to go down the same path.

PS Would note US Army is fully funding the development of the T901, a drop in replacement for the four decade old T700 used in the Apache and Blackhawk, the T901 will have 50% more power plus 25% better fuel consumption and require less maintenance, also funding new non-proprietary open architecture software with the common Modular Open System Architecture (MOSA) electronics so as not to be locked into single supplier and to drive support costs down when integrating new systems/hardware into a/c, aiming for plug and play, will be mandatory for the new helos and beginning to be introduced on the Blackhawk UH-60V “Victor” with the new cockpit.

“The best is the enemy of the good"

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: European Medium Multi-Role Helicopter

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

NickC wrote:Blackhawk UH-60V “Victor”
Is that (technically) different from W 'Whiskey'?

I agree with your closing slogan but would bet that the L-R spec will survive as it is superior to the tilt-rotor alternative. We will of course use Chinooks for the same (and got Gs in order to offer that capability)
- the old principle: why batter-ram against a closed gate, if you can go around. Did not start with the Chinese vs. Mongols, but worked there to a great effect
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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