July 19, 2004 :
The Bell Quad Tiltrotor Airlift Technology for Army Transformation
FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW ( Bell Helicopters Press Release ) -
The United States Army s new thrust to transform itself, giving it the ability to move a medium force anywhere in the world to deter aggression and stop conflict quickly, is well underway. Contracts are ready to be let to build or buy an interim combat vehicle that has the firepower and mobility to counter expected enemies well into the 21st century.
In addition, the Army is studying the possibility of a future force that will bring even more firepower and maneuverability to the medium force with a system-of-systems approach embodied in the Future Combat System. The American service whose charter is to "fight and win our Nation s wars" is doing its part to reach a capability that can truly respond to the future threats on tomorrow s battlefields.
These forces are being designed specifically to be delivered to the region by strategic airlift followed by tactical, intra-theater airlift to the objective, and the goal is to be engaged within 96 hours.
The Army is also calling for a deployment capability to include vertical envelopment. It accurately states that there are not enough runways around the world that are capable of handling today s workhorse intra-theater airlifter, the C-130 Hercules cargo plane, to allow the medium force to reach its goal of deploying a brigade in 96 hours ANYWHERE in the world.
The Army Chief has asked the Air Force to help them in this regard. As the Army transforms itself, it either needs the Air Force to step up and supply the required tactical airlift to the battle, or it needs to develop and field its own intra-theater airlift capability.
This is where the Bell Quad Tiltrotor, or QTR can really make a difference. This concept aircraft can lift the Current or the Future force directly to the battle and supply that vertical envelopment the Army requests. With a fuselage larger than the venerable C-130, and the capability to strategically self-deploy " with a 20 ton payload -- and move combat forces forward without the need for runways or airports, the QTR opens up the last obstacle to the Army s vision.
Massive supplies are needed to sustain engaged forces on the battlefield. Moving those supplies through choke points can hamper the effectiveness of even the most potent fighting force. These choke points provide the enemy an opportunity to interdict these supplies using asymmetric warfare techniques. If America s foes around the world learned anything from the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, it was that it doesn t pay to fight our strengths. The enemy that determines how to strike us at our weakest points will give us the greater challenge. The QTR can eliminate these choke points, counter some of the asymmetric opportunities, and provide multiple supply routes, causing the enemy to have to cover every possible route and complicating his defenses.
Also, the QTR can go anywhere, allowing the allied commander to take advantage of terrain and natural barriers. He can cross rivers without the need for bridges and can move fuel to ground vehicles and water, food and ammunition to troops without securing roads and overland routes. He can drop medium forces behind the enemy and attack from unexpected directions. The QTR can deliver Strykers, FCS, HMMWVs, trucks, trailers, ISO containers and palletized cargo anywhere on the battlefield. Of particular interest to the United States Army, the QTR is being designed to allow an up-armored Stryker to roll on and roll off the aircraft with no adjustments required.
It can land in city parking lots, soccer fields and school grounds, freeways as well as seaports and cargo staging areas. Since bulk liquid is over 75% of the tonnage needed in wartime operations, the Quad Tiltrotor is uniquely designed for that mission. It can supply up to 4400 gallons on each trip - directly to the ground commander, or resupply a Forward Arming & Refuel Point (FARP) without need for an airfield and subsequent transfer of cargo from aircraft to trucks.
Its 300+ mph speed, 1000+ mile range and hover capability will allow the QTR to deliver supplies directly from supply ships before the ships reach port. Many supplies can be off-loaded, even if the port is blocked. In many parts of the world port facilities are far away, making it difficult to resupply allied forces. The QTR can provide quick response with minimum infrastructure and host nation support.
Late last year the QTR began wind tunnel testing at the Texas A&M University s 7x10 foot low speed wind tunnel. The results of the tests are very positive.
Advanced technology work in the field of flow control is still underway to reduce QTR drag and increase payload by reducing download. More producible actuators are being investigated, and additional wind tunnel tests are expected to show drag reduction at Texas A&M. As we determine flow control actuators appropriate for production they will be considered for all Tiltrotors to improve performance.
The Army needs the QTR to round out the needed lift for its future force. Whether Army or Air Force pilots fly it is not the issue, but vertical envelopment is required to meet the Army s ambitious objectives in the next decade. Downsizing the bulk and weight of your fighting force is one thing " and the Army has a roadmap to meet that goal. But if you still need airports, seaports and other fixed infrastructure to deliver your equipment to the battle, you are playing into the hands of the asymmetric, savvy foe. What is needed is an aircraft that meets the lift requirements, but is free from the infrastructure ball and chain. The Quad Tiltrotor is that aircraft. Now exceeding its goals in its third of four planned engineering design contracts with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the QTR is ready to accept the challenge.
Bell Helicopter, a Textron company, is the one of the world s leading manufacturers of vertical lift aircraft. Bell has manufactured more than 35,000 helicopters flying in more than 120 countries. The current line includes a full range of commercial and military helicopters as well as a Family of Tiltrotor Aircraft ranging from the Bell Eagle Eye UAV, to the V-22 Osprey for the US military, as well as the BA609 nine passenger civil tiltrotor aircraft.
Textron Inc. is a $10 billion multi-industry company with more than 43,000 employees in nearly 40 countries. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others.
V-22 Osprey tilrotor