Anybody heard something about this?
The Pentagon is planning to replace C130 Hercules with the new FTR ( future transport rotorcraft ). One of considered designs is Bell's V44. It looks
like a quad rotor Osprey. It has a range 1000-2000 miles and can carry more than 20 tons.
Twice A V-22 The FTR will provide a capability that does not exist anywhere in the world today--and perhaps will replace the helicopter for military
operations. The concept for the aerial assault platform comes from Bell Helicopter Textron. Having teamed with Boeing on the twin-engine V-22 Osprey
tiltrotor program, Bell has developed the concept for a larger fuselage. Envisioned to be about the size of a stretched C-130 Hercules, the FTR would
feature two V-22-type wings, each having an engine and a combination rotor-propeller mounted at the outboard tips. The exact configuration has yet to
be determined. Some versions show a tailless aircraft, others have an airframe more along the lines of a C-130.
A quad tiltrotor could be put into production as early as 2010.
There is no disagreement about the interior. The V-44 is designed to be a heavy hauler. "Imagine this aircraft with a cabin large enough to
internally carry an 8 x 8 x 40-ft. container, several helicopters, all types of high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, light armored vehicles,
eight standard loading pallets, or 70 [medivac] litters," reads an industry analysis describing the concept. "Imagine an aircraft that could
transport 80 to 100 troops or 10 to 20 tons of equipment and supplies at speeds greater than 300 mph over distances from 1000 to 2000 miles and then
safely land vertically, without the need for runways or airports."
The FTR concept can be traced back as far as the early 1960s when the Curtiss-Wright Corp. built the X-19, a small quad-rotor testbed. After 50
successful test flights, it was destroyed in an accident. A second X-19 was scrapped. Enthusiasm for the FTR, however, is based on the technical
success of the V-22 Osprey. These aircraft can be configured to carry 24 combat troops or up to 20,000 pounds of internal or external cargo at twice
the speed of a helicopter. U.S. procurement plans call for 360 Marine Corps MV-22 aircraft and 50 U.S. Air Force CV-22 aircraft. Using parts common
with the Marine MV-22, the Air Force CV-22 modification includes the addition of internal-wing fuel tanks and terrain-avoidance and terrain-following
radars. It also has been given an enhanced electronic warfare suite, additional cockpit seating for a flight engineer, an aerial refueling probe and
an internally mounted rescue hoist.
The FTR will use a pair of V-22 propulsion systems. Each is based on two Rolls-Royce Allison AE 1107C 6150-shp engines and a computer-controlled rotor
coordination system that permits a safe landing if one engine loses power.
An obvious question is whether the four rotors could operate in such close proximity without creating turbulence that would shake apart the aircraft
or make it impossible to control. To answer this question, Bell draws on data reaching back to its X-22 ducted propeller quad tiltrotor, which flew
500 flights between 1966 and 1988. The results encouraged Bell to test a pair of V-22s at a distance approximating the spacing between the fore and
aft wings of a V-44. According to Dick Spivey, Bell's director of advanced concepts, the test was a success. Water tunnel tests showed that the rotor
wakes from the front engines flowed down and inboard--below and inboard of the rear rotors. Technically, there is no reason this bird shouldn't
Thus configured, it could carry twice the payload and eight times the internal volume of cargo transported by the V-22. A true multiservice aircraft,
it would reportedly meet the expanded needs of the Marine Corps' Ship-To-Objective Maneuver operations, support Air Force Aerospace Expeditionary
Force units and meet many Army requirements for a future Joint Transport Rotorcraft (JTR). In the Army's case, officials envision a JTR that will
replace some of the aging CH-47 Chinook helicopters. The Navy has its eye on the quad tiltrotor to make deliveries to its oceangoing fleet, much as
the C-2A Greyhound now services carriers.
Early requirements issued by the Defense Department call for the ability to transport 8 to 12 tons of cargo over 600 miles with return at cruise
speeds of 300 knots. Bell Helicopter engineers believe that their FTR concept would come very close to meeting these criteria.
A Formidable GunshipIn addition to the FTR's cargo-hauling abilities, the possibility of putting tiltrotor technology into combat can be seen in
another industry analysis. With advanced laser weapons and precision fire control, the craft could provide protection for overtaking a captured or
damaged airport or seaport, making such sites accessible to allied forces.
Gunship applications are just one of several ideas being explored. A joint panel is looking at all of the rotorcraft possibilities. "They're looking
at joint common lift replacement aircraft, to include a medium assault, a utility and an attack and anti-armor aircraft," explains Marine Corps Capt.
Aisha Bakkar-Poe. "The Marine Corps' view is that tiltrotor is the way of the future because it has such a longer range and goes so much faster that
it almost makes a helicopter obsolete."
I think it would be an excelent transport because with 4 engines there is smaller risk of mechanical failure and because of its VTOL capability it can
operate from the carriers or marine wasp class ships. It could be something like a JSF, joint transport.