Forecast predicts a rotorcraft revival

[Quick note: Thanks for everyone's patience, understanding and condolences over the past week. You guys -- and all of you seem to be guys, by the way -- have been so supportive. Now, it's back to the grind!]

Can the US military rotorcraft industry build anything besides the UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache or CH-47 Chinook?

A new report by Forecast International predicts the time is ripe to launch development of a new helicopter. I’ve heard this for a few years, and there are increasing signs that the interest is real. But I still don’t know where the funding comes from, unless the army wants to sacrifice near-term modernization funding to invest in a risky development project.  Here’s an excerpt from the Forecast report:

Among the emerging trends in this market that are identified by the Forecast International study is a new emphasis by the U.S. military on technology innovation and new product development.  In recent years, rotorcraft procurement by the U.S. military services has mostly been of improved derivatives of already-existing helicopter types rather than all-new, clean-sheet designs.  In response, U.S. manufacturers have generally evolved their military helicopter product lines around these requirements.  Jaworowski says, “In many ways, the U.S. military has the domestic helicopter industry for which it has been asking.”  Concerns about the stifling of innovation within this industry, though, have in part prompted the Pentagon to launch a number of initiatives intended to kickstart research and development efforts.


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6 Responses to Forecast predicts a rotorcraft revival

  1. Anonymous 15 March, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    Yes, see: CH-53K, UH-1Y, AH-1Z.

  2. Dave 15 March, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    I think Sikorsky’s X-2 might eventually evolve into a new product… From what I’ve seen, I’m confident it will achieve what it set out to do. Now if the Army, or better yet, SOCOM, ponies up the cash, I think it could happen.

  3. Laicie 15 March, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    Hey not so! There is at least one girl here – I’m just supremely insensitive.

    I hope all is well, I really am sorry for your loss. Glad to have you back!

  4. Moose 16 March, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    Welcome back, Stephen.

    I’m glad the puzzle palace is funding more R&D, but if they really want new aircraft they need to take a break from specifying off-the-shelf designs in their contracts. Either make allowances for new designs to compete against existing in new programs, or write requirements which aren’t met by existing aircraft and let the industry roll its sleeves up.

    At least the Commercial side is slowing trying to pull itself forward. Bell’s new 429 is a step in the right direction, and Europe’s working on some new stuff.

    I’m with Dave, I’m thinking/hoping that the X2 program is a primer for a new production design from Connecticut. I’m really hoping Piasecki’s Speedhawk seems more aimed at evolving existing airframes, X2 looks to be only applicable to “clean sheet” designs.

  5. FlightDreamz 17 March, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    Well there’s alway the MV-22 Osprey and the Air Force CV-22? Tilt rotors won’t solve ALL of the U.S. rotorcraft needs, but its a start! And I agree with Moose and Dave in that the X-2 has potential.

    As far as Piasecki’s Speedhawk, it looks interesting but I would be surprised if that reaches production at all.

  6. buy generic viagra online 4 November, 2010 at 4:13 am #

    Do you have an RSS for this blog? just cant find it anywhere

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