The video illustrates a typical HMI struggle: to which switch can we allocate a secondary function?
In this case, the Bell AH-1W Super Cobra is equipped with prototype Hydra 70 2,75 inches rockets fitting an infrared seeker. Currently, most of the guided rocket are Laser-guided.
For this airborne test, the integration of the guided-rocket (with inrared seeker, not Laser) did not foresee the installation of a new switch-ON button, but rather allocated the function to an already existing search light command (see the video at 4:36). Therefore you cannot have both the guided rocket and the search light installed at the same time. It would be bad to forget it while you’re flying.
Aiirsource published a video disclosing the ammunition loading by ground crews of the Apache AH64D helicopter.
Apache maintainers use dummy rounds to test the weapons systems on a Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopter. An ammunition handling check is done periodically to check the onboard weapons systems to include the 30mm M230 E1 chain gun, the AGM-114 Hellfire missile and the Hydra 70 rocket.
outer stations fitted with 14” bomb racks for the FN Herstal HMP400 machine gun (0,5” or 12,7mm) or the RMP (rocket machine gun pod) featuring the HMP400 and 3 additional rockets (2,75” or 70mm). The video displays laser guided ammunitions from Raytheon.
The cocpkit is equipped with the Garmin 500H and a multi function display
Behind the seats is installed the MOOG store management system for both inner and outer weapon stations, composed of 3 separate components, providing the weapons situation and the situational awareness to the crew:
store management computer
rocket interface unit
stores interface unit
The L3 Wescam MX10 provides EO (Electro Optics) and IR (Infra Red) sensors to the multi function display in the cockpit, and the laser guidance for the guided rockets.
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How to speed up when you’re in the X3? …easy: push the button!
X3 cockpit, Eurocopter high speed prototype
Which one? On the picture above, there is only a thrust control lever. As Ernie explains:
In the X3, the TCL on the center console isn’t touched. Forward thrust is applied by thumbing a small, momentary-contact, hat switch mounted on the collective. Push it forward to increase the power, tap it backwards to decrease it. The TCL moves forward and back as the hat switch is actuated, but is only manipulated by hand as an emergency procedure if the hat switch fails.
The TCL, the handle located on the centre console, is actually not used during the flight. It is only hereas a backup.
Thrust Control Lever, on the central control panel in the Eurocopter X3 cockpit
Now, look at the collective below and find the hat switch.
hat switch on the collective used to increase translational speed in the Eurocopter X3 prototype high speed helicopter
“Are you ready to go flying?” asked Jammayrac. “Yes, sir,” I replied. “All you have to do is push the throttle switch forward,” he instructed. “Don’t do anything else.” And that was when the X3 stopped being a helicopter and became a King Air!
Regardless of whether I “beeped” the throttle hat switch on the collective or held it forward, I could feel the power come in.
With this new entry, the British-Italian manufacturer brings the performance of the aircraft closer to its competitors with a lighter take-off weight. (OH-58D has a MTOW of 2495 kg or 5500 lbs)
AW139M has a maximum take-off weight of 6800 kg while the AW169 is lighter with approx. 4500 kg.
The concept provides the reliability of the twin engine and the performance of a modern aircraft. The weapon system appears to be standard with a 20 mm cannon and 70 mm rockets. Furthermore, the cannon is installed with an elevation adjustment capability during the flight.
However, the weapon pylons are located besides the doors, which may prevent the installation of a machine gun in the cabin. The Electro Optical Sight installed the nose has also a limited sight capability to the right side.
On the picture above, we see the mechanism allowing to adjust the elevation of the cannon. This mechanism needs to be corrected in order to avoid the full reaction forces from the recoil during firing.
It should perform well in hot and high altitude conditions, 95°F (35°C) and 6000 ft (1830 m).
Considering the previous experience developed together with Agusta Westland on the AW609 (first called BA609, then AB609) and Boeing on the V-22, Bell Helicopter is fully able to produce a performing and reliable tilt rotor aircraft.
The Bell brochure compares directly to the UH-60 Black Hawk, emphasing a range capability up to 2100 nm (almost 3900 km) during self deployment. Of course, the self deployment is in a ferry configuration, flying with auxiliary fuel tanks and almost no pax.
The video wants to display an aircraft that makes kids dream, brings the GIs back home safe and provides the “state of the art” technologies: video transmission from drones and… mission displays. In a time of financial crisis, advertisers would rather show reliable, useful and proven technologies than a futuristic and expensive toy.
The aircraft could be proposed in 2 versions: tactical transport and combat. Beside possible door mounted guns for the transport variant, the armed version would carry weapons:
in pods under stubwings (rocket launcher, guns and cannons, missiles) ;
in a closed weapon cargo under the belly (for a stealth capability?) ;
in a chin mounted turret, possibily with a heavy 30 mm caliber.
This aircraft arrives in a context of studies by the US forces, wishing for an Armed Scout and a JMR helicopter. The Armed Scout should be a smaller helicopter, but the Valor could still compete with the Sikorsky S-97 Raider and the Agusta Westland AW139M.
On the other hand, the Bell’s proposal can be compared with the Joint Multi Role concept from Boeing and Sikorsky, as a fast helicopter.
The main question remains open though: which weight do you want for an Armed Scout and a Joint Multi Role helicopter?