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Karem to offer tiltrotor for FVL

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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 2017.

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.


posted on Oct, 15 2013 @ 01:55 PM
Can't hardly wait to see what comes up.

Coaxial rotor is complicated but solves retreating blade stall problems.

This is bizarre though:
edit on 10/15/2013 by abecedarian because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 16 2013 @ 11:48 PM
I'm of the opinion that Karem's entry is too large for JMR-FVL, but they are taking it seriously. It is certainly very ambitious. Like AVX (whose design I prefer), Karem will be putting a small, very experienced team of engineers together and couple with an existing industry powerhouse for production.

Lots of good info on JMR-FVL

On the military end, their site touts an eventual TR75 JHL design that grows to become slightly bigger than a C-130, with a 330+ knot/ Mach 0.65+ cruising speed and a maximum payload of up to 36 tons. Karem Aircraft says that TR75 was extensively analyzed during the JHL program’s 2005-2007 cooperative development agreement phase, leading to a strategic teaming with Lockheed Martin as a production partner during the 2007-2010 CDA-X program extension. If its touted statistics ever came true, it would offer near-A400M level performance, with vertical/ short takeoff capability and better cruise efficiency. That’s quite the stretch goal, but Lockheed Martin took it seriously enough to create a hedge against the potential threat to its C-130x franchise.

Technically, Karem’s proposal is a farther reach than AVX’s, and might be laughed out of the room if it came from another source. Founder Abe Karem is best known for kick-starting the American UAV revolution with a viable and inexpensive garage-built product called Amber, after the ruinously-expensive performance disaster that was Lockheed Martin’s MQM-105 Aquila. Along the way, General Atomics bought Karem, his firm, and his technology from Hughes. Karem’s work and technology morphed into the Gnat UAV, which served over Bosnia and then morphed into the famous MQ-1 Predator. His current firm, Karem Aircraft, developed optimum-speed rotor (OSR) technology, which saves fuel and fine-tunes performance by varying the rotor’s speed in response to weight, conditions, etc. That core technology was sold to Boeing to create the A160 Hummingbird Heli-UAV, but Karem was left free to develop the underlying technology in other ways. Karem hasn’t been known for his high opinion of large defense contractors and their performance, and JMR-FVL is shaping up as an excellent test of his belief in small staffs of very talented and motivated engineers. Can he beat the big contractors in an open competition?

posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 03:54 AM
reply to post by _Del_

Found this image of the mock up for Bell's V-280 Valour, which looks for all the world like some weirdly converted Blackhawk

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