US Army has been upgrading the old fleet of helicopters for quite some years now. However, that approach is reaching a plateau with the upgrades becoming expensive and quite limited. There is, after all, only enough that you can add to an existing system and this led to the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program where the US Army-led Future Vertical Lift stage has contenders competing to win a contract from US government for the next generation of attack helicopters worth $100 billion.
Among these contenders, the most favored one right now is the design put forward by the AVX Aircraft Company. This particular model comes with coaxial rotors, fans that are ducted, an undercarriage that is retractable and is capable of hitting speeds of 435 km/h. The AVX concept could very well be the model that replaces Apache and Chinook along with Black Hawk.
The design will weigh about 12,000 kg and shall have a lift capacity of 5,900 kg while being capable to carry 12 combat troops along with 4 crew members. Up front, we have a pair of wings that look stubby and shall provide, as per claims, 40% of the lift at flight speed, the rear has an access ramp for cargo loading and faster unloading of troops/small vehicles. The attack version of this design will house a belly turret and weapon doors.
If the AV concept is able to deliver all that is being claimed, then there’s no reason why it shouldn’t win the contract even among a list of contenders that are heavy lifters in aviation industry. AVX has been created by a group of engineers who worked for Bell Helicopters. It is based in Fort Worth, Texas. The company’s design makes use of the patented coaxial rotor and a twin ducted fan design concept forms the backbone of the JMR proposal.