BAE Systems and AVX Aircraft have submitted a proposal to the US Navy for the medium-range maritime unmanned air system (MRMUAS), a helicopter. The proposed aircraft would use a new-build airframe, built by AVX, which will feature AVX's signature coaxial rotors and dual ducted fans.
Performance specifications have not been made public. "A lot of it we're not releasing. It's designed to meet the Navy's requirements," said AVX, who declined to provide specifics but noted that the design would feature significant speed and payload capacity. "It's a pretty sleek-looking aircraft."
AVX has proposed a similar coaxial rotor, ducted fan modification of the US army's venerable Bell OH-58 armed scout helicopter, as well as a large new-build design for the Army's joint multirole (JMR) programme.
The design remains on paper, and AVX hopes to fly a heavily modified Bell JetRanger demonstrator by mid-2013.
©AVX via Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Despite competition from established VTUAVs, including the Northrop Grumman/Bell Helicopter Fire-X and Boeing A160, AVX believes that the new MRMUAS concept is "going to come in at a lower cost, and we find that happens almost every time just by the nature of our design and our company. We're going to be the most cost-efficient solution."
BAE, the project's prime contractor and primary payload and software provider, was not available for immediate comment.