QUAD-A: US Army sets 2030 goal for high-speed helicopter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The US Army’s annual helo-palooza — the Army Aviation Association of America’s (Quad-A’s) annual convention — opened this morning with aviation branch’s top officer making a bold commitment to field an all-new, high-speed rotorcraft in 2030.

Maj Gen Anthony Crutchfield, head of army aviation headquarters at Fort Rucker, set an “aimpoint” to field an optionally manned rotorcraft with speed greater than 200kt within 19 years.

“We’re not going to waiver. Our knees will not buckle. And we’re going to field this aircraft,” Crutchfield said. “Because I don’t want my grandchildren flying the [AH-64] Longbow Block 80. It’s a great aircraft but we need technology to take us further into that future.”

Crutchfield’s briefing included a slide with these requirements for a new “joint multi-role” helicopter:

Performance: 6K/95

Radius: 424km unrefueled

Endurance: 2hr station time

Payload: Nine-man squad, sensor/weapons package

Speed: >200kt

Optionally manned


“I don’t think we can do all those things just by incrementally improving our current aircraft. It’s going to have to be something new,” Crutchfield says. “We’re not going to get everything we want. But we have to to get everything we need, and I believe we need this.”

If the 200kt minimum speed requirement sticks, Crutchfield is right. The army will need more than an all-new helicopter. It will need a new kind of rotorcraft, such as a coaxial-compound combination like X-2 or a tiltrotor like the V-22. Convention helicopters are limited to a maximum of 170-180kt due to retreating blade stall.



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5 Responses to QUAD-A: US Army sets 2030 goal for high-speed helicopter

  1. S O 18 April, 2011 at 11:24 pm #


    Max hover altitude, maintenance man-hours per flying hour and max allowed winds are usually much higher rated rotorcraft qualities than sheer speed.
    What’s the point of higher top speed that justifies the additional effort it requires?

  2. rapier 19 April, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Further from your feature “US Army pledges to launch new class of high-speed rotorcraft”:

    “Crutchfield’s vision aligns the army with recent investments by Sikorsky in the coaxial-rotor X2 high-speed demonstrator and by Piasecki with the compound-rotor X-49A Speed Hawk. Boeing, meanwhile, has started early development of a high-speed vertical lift concept called the Disc Rotor. Bell Helicopter has revealed a concept for a “hybrid tandem rotor”, and also has fielded the high-speed V-22 tiltrotor with Boeing as a partner.

    In Janaury, the army issued a request for proposals for concepts to develop a replacement for the UH-60 and AH-64 with a single aircraft called the Joint Multi-Role (JMR)-Medium. The JMR also is envisioned to be scaled up to replace the heavylift Chinook or scaled down to replace the Bell Helicopter OH-58 Kiowa Warrior.”

    It’s not that they’re putting too meat to the fire?

  3. PMS 19 April, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Is it thinkable that the high-speed helicopter will sport the open-rotor (unducted fan) as a tail engine?

  4. weed 21 April, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Already in 1986, the Westland Lynx 800 flew faster than 200 knots.

  5. this post 8 August, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

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