DH - Defence Helicopter

Boeing to Provide Research and Development for US Army Rotorcraft Programs

18th September 2008 - 00:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Boeing Company has won three competitive proposals resulting in U.S. Army Technology Investment Agreements with a combined value of more than $19 million. The agreements with the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate cover applied research and development in support of the Rotor Durability Army Technology Objective (ATO) and the High Performance Rotary Wing Vehicle Designs (HPRWVD) program.

"This research will provide near-term solutions to support the Army's immediate needs to keep blades in service longer, enhance capabilities for the current fleet and lay the groundwork for future advanced rotorcraft designs," said Pat Donnelly, director of Boeing Advanced Rotorcraft Systems.

First, as part of the Rotor Durability ATO efforts, Boeing will work to improve the durability and performance of helicopter rotor blades by developing and testing permanent blade-erosion protection, reliable and maintainable icing protection, improved blade repairability and increased rotor performance concepts. Boeing will demonstrate the resulting durable, high-performance rotor through isolated testing at its Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (V/STOL) wind tunnel near Philadelphia.

A second agreement, in support of the HPRWVD program, calls for the design and initial evaluation of an unloaded, lift-offset rotor system that includes a non-rotating wing positioned above the rotor to provide lift in forward flight. The system is projected to meet or exceed the Army's vibration- and noise-reduction goals while enabling higher speeds. Boeing will design and test a new four-blade rotor hub for the lift-offset rotor program, as well as a conventional rotor design and vibration/noise-reducing on-blade flaps to support a lower-risk solution for future versions of the CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter. The lift-offset rotor also will undergo tests at Boeing's V/STOL wind tunnel.

The third agreement supports the Rotor Durability ATO and involves evaluating and demonstrating new, more reliable methods of transferring power and data across the non-rotating airframe to the rotating blade interface.

Boeing Advanced Rotorcraft Systems, which is responsible for all rotorcraft research and development supporting the company's current production lines and future opportunities, will conduct the research for the three new agreements in Philadelphia and Mesa, Ariz.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32.1 billion business with 71,000 employees worldwide.

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