posted on Oct, 15 2013 @ 01:34 PM
It was confirmed earlier this month that Karem, which was founded by the "father" of the Predator and A160 Hummingbird, Abe Karem, will offer a
tiltrotor design for the Pentagon Future Vertical Lift program (FVL).
They join fellow startup AVX Aircraft to go against Bell Helicopter, and Sikorsky/Boeing in the program. The odds are probably stacked pretty high
against either winning, but they will almost certainly give them a run for their money.
All four competitors now have $6.5 million, and nine months to design their entries, at which time two will be chosen to be built and flown in
A little can be figured out about the Karem entry by looking at their OSTR design. It will have a long stiff blade, designed to dampen shaking at the
rotor, instead of at the airframe, that will be rigidly attached to the hub, which is attached to the nacelle.
When the Pentagon set out its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) strategy to develop a family of advanced rotorcraft to replace its fleets of helicopters
originally designed in the 1960s and '70s, one goal was to engage non-traditional suppliers to bring more innovation into the sector.
With the inclusion of two startup companies among the four teams awarded contracts for the U.S. Army's Joint Multi-Role technology demonstration (JMR
TD), the Defense Department has taken a step toward that goal. Bell Helicopter and a Sikorsky/Boeing team may still be the favorites to fly two
high-speed rotorcraft demonstrators in 2017, but they face real competition from two relative unknowns.
AVX Aircraft had already declared its hand, previously unveiling the 230-kt. coaxial-rotor, ducted-fan compound helicopter it is designing for JMR.
But Karem Aircraft was not confirmed as a contender until Oct. 2, when the Army announced the four cost-sharing technology investment agreements for
the $217 million JMR TD Phase 1 flight demonstration.