Tag Archives: Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk

Bell V-280 Valor Conducts First Cruise Mode Test Flight as Program Advances

Second Milestone in 30 Days as New Light Tiltrotor Progresses to Max Speed Test.

Bell’s V-280 Valor light tiltrotor aircraft has flown in level flight with its tiltrotors in the horizontal/cruise mode for the first time this week. The aircraft reached 190 knots (218 MPH) during the flight.

The new Bell V-280 Valor is a medium, tactical tiltrotor aircraft designed for the U.S. Army Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program. The JMR-TD program is a precursor for the Army’s overall Future Vertical Lift (FVL) co-development and evaluation of possible replacements for existing rotorwing aircraft in five different roles. The V-280 Valor is a proposed candidate for a new JMR-Medium utility and attack helicopter to potentially replace the UH-60 Blackhawk utility helicopter and the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.

The Bell V-280 is reportedly capable of a maximum speed of 280 knots or 322 MPH, hence the name “V-280”. That is significantly faster than the U.S. Army’s existing UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters’ maximum speed of 192 knots or 222 MPH and nearly as fast as the MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft with a top speed at sea level of 305 knots or 351 MPH according to Bell Boeing.

The V-280 Valor is intended to carry up to 14 troops in a tactical personnel transport configuration with a crew of four including two flight crew and two gunner/loadmasters. It may also be developed with the capability to be an attack helicopter with various weapons onboard as depicted early in the program in a concept video showing an animated assault on a high altitude insurgent camp during hot weather. High altitude/hot weather flight conditions, called “High and Hot”, are challenging for most existing rotor wing aircraft. The V-280 will be optimized for high and hot operations.

While similar in visual configuration to the existing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor in service with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marines, the V-280’s engines remain in a fixed position on the wing while only the tiltrotors change geometry from vertical flight to horizontal flight. One advantage to this system is that both tiltrotors on the V-280 can operate off a single engine. On the V-22 Osprey both of the entire engine nacelles rotate during the transition from vertical to horizontal flight and the engine drive systems are fully segregated from each other, but joined by a complex gear box so the aircraft can operate on one engine.

The wing section of the V-280 is a unique single-piece composite construction. (Photo: Bell Helicopters)

Another unique feature of the V-280 Valor is the one-piece carbon fiber composite wing section. The one-piece composite wing uses Large Cell Carbon Core technology, reducing costs by over 30% compared to the construction of the V-22 Osprey wing. The one-piece wing is also integral to the ability of the twin tiltrotors to operate off power from only one engine if needed.

The Bell V-280 Valor competes with the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant aircraft in the JMR-TD program. The SB-1 Defiant uses two contra-rotating rotors and a “pusher” style tail rotor in a more traditional helicopter configuration as compared to the Bell V-280 tiltrotor design.

As the V-280 program advances through flight testing the aircraft has now flown 27 hours with approximately 90 hours of time turning the rotors in ground and flight tests. The aircraft has demonstrated its ground taxi and hover capability as well as low-altitude maneuvers including 360-degree pedal turns and forward/aft/lateral repositions along with 60 knot roll-on landings.

The next phase of flight operations for the V-280 will include maximum speed flights scheduled for some time within the next 90 days according to Bell. “During the summer, we plan on reaching most of the required performance parameters that were part of the test program,” said Jeffrey Schloesser, Bell’s executive vice president of strategic pursuits, during an interview last month with Aviation Week.

An interesting part of the advancements in the test program is that now the Bell V-280 is accompanied during test flights by an Aero L-39 jet chase plane because of the V-280’s increasing speed in testing.

Images show that parts of U.S. Army 160th SOAR MH-60M that crash landed off Okinawa were covered to hide some details

A Special Operations Black Hawk performed a “hard-deck landing” on the USNS Red Cloud off Okinawa, Japan.

Seven military were injured after an MH-60M Black Hawk helicopter belonging to the U.S. Army’s 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment) performed a “hard-deck landing” on the USNS Red Cloud, 20 miles off Okinawa, Japan.

Aerial footage broadcast by several media outlets showed the helicopter (coded “63”) with part of its tail broken off: screenshots posted on Social Media (special thanks to @AbraxasSpa) shows that main and tail rotors were covered, most probably to hide some details (maybe noise reduction devices and other interesting sensors) of the Special Operations helicopter.

MH-60 Japan 4

Therefore, not a Silent Hawk like the one involved in the Abbottabad raid to kill Bin Laden, but a highly modified chopper with plenty of details that is better to keep away from cameras.

MH-60 Japan 3

Screenshots via @AbraxasSpa

 

Video shows Colombian Army Black Hawk helicopter exploding after landing in a minefield

Warning: Graphic video shows Black Hawk helicopter exploding.

On Jun. 22, a Colombian Army Black Hawk helicopter exploded in a rural area of Teorama municipality.

Out of the 15 soldiers on board the UH-60L chopper, four were killed and six wounded after the Black Hawk landed in a minefield reportedly laid by FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) group.

According to the information released by local media the helicopter belonged to the Army’s 33rd Mobile Brigade.

 

Rare video exposes U.S. Special Operations helicopters at work in north Iraq

A clip filmed with a smartphone shows a formation of Special Ops helicopters at work north of Baiji in Iraq.

Although the quality of the footage is pretty bad, the clip in this post, filmed by Iraqi forces north of Baiji, Iraq, is extremely interesting.

It shows a formation of four U.S. MH-60 and two MH-47E choppers, followed by two more Black Hawks, flying at very low level during a mission somewhere in Iraq.

The helicopters belong to the US Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) “Night Stalkers”, a Special Operations unit that has been quite active in the region since August 2014. More recently, the 160th SOAR took part in a “daring” raid to kill ISIS high level operative Abu Sayyaf,  in eastern Syria.

Here below you can find a couple of screenshots:

MH-60

MH-47 over Iraq

Noteworthy the helicopters are not flying under the cover of night: returning from a raid or heading towards the target?

 H/T to @guidoolimpio for the link to the video

 

What’s this helicopter hidden below a protective covering spotted near Sikorsky plant?

What’s the type of helicopter hidden below a protective cover?

A reader sent us this photo he took from his car of a helicopter being moved on trailer not far from Sikorsky plant in Stratford.

Here’s what the reader wrote to describe the scene he witnessed on Jul. 30:

“[…]. The reason I took a picture of this is that I’ve seen them put UH-60’s without covers on trailers, and this time, there was a convoy of probably 4 hummers and 2 deuce & a half’s I saw in the vicinity, as well. It was unusual – especially at 1545 on a Wednesday.”

Even though the chopper is hidden below a protective covering, its shape can be guessed: based on the position of the tail boom in relation to the cabin and the tail boom angling we can say it has something in common with the U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk.

Someone may believe the aircraft is the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter used by the Navy SEALs in the Osama Bin Laden raid. However it’s almost impossible to believe they would move the radar-evading U.S. black MH-X chopper exposed by Operation Neptune’s Spear in daylight and by trailer.Our reader seems to agree:

“I’ve seen and experienced how they transport aircraft/inventory that is most likely categorized at the SCI level – They get about 20 DoD Dodge Chargers with take downs and spot lights on everywhere, they shut down every on/off ramp for about 5 miles in front and behind the cargo, and set up a “dome of light” so it’s difficult to see the angles of the “cargo”.”

So, is it a UH-60?

Most probably, yes. Still, we can’t exclude is a mock-up, a movie prop or something else.