AVIC de­vel­op­ing ul­tra­fast tilt-ro­tor air­craft

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHAO LEI in Harbin

Chi­nese he­li­copter de­sign­ers are fo­cus­ing on the de­vel­op­ment of an ul­tra­fast tiltro­tor air­craft ca­pa­ble of fly­ing 500 kilo­me­ters per hour, the na­tion’s top he­li­copter re­searcher said.

Wu Xim­ing, chief he­li­copter de­signer at State-owned air­craft giant Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Corp of China, told China Daily on Mon­day that re­searchers at the com­pany’s He­li­copter Re­search and De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute are de­vel­op­ing the Blue Whale tilt-ro­tor air­craft, China’s equiv­a­lent of the United States’ Bell Boe­ing V-22 Osprey.

“We will de­sign two vari­ants of the Blue Whale — a medium-duty type and a heavy-duty one. The medium-duty model will have a max­i­mum take­off weight of 20 met­ric tons, and the heavy-duty model 40 tons. They can fly as fast as 500 km/ h,” Wu said.

Mod­ern he­li­copters usu­ally have a max­i­mum speed rang­ing from 250 to 300 km/h.

The air­craft will be able to con­duct ver­ti­cal take­off and land­ing in tough ter­rain like a con­ven­tional he­li­copter, and will have a longer range and higher cruis­ing speed that can com­pare to tur­bo­prop jets, Wu said, adding it can also carry heav­ier pay­loads than he­li­copters.

With four ro­tors, the Blue Whale will have bet­ter re­li­a­bil­ity, ma­neu­ver­abil­ity and safety than its US coun­ter­part, the V-22 Osprey, he added.

Wu ex­pects the tilt-ro­tor to con­duct a wide va­ri­ety of tasks, such as disas­ter relief, sup­ply air­drop and other emer­gency re­sponse op­er­a­tions.

AVIC sees the im­por­tance of de­vel­op­ing the ul­tra­fast tilt-ro­tor air­craft, he said, adding, how­ever, that it will be a long time be­fore they are ready for mass pro­duc­tion due to the tech­no­log­i­cal com­plex­ity.

An ear­lier re­port by China Avi­a­tion News, a news­pa­per owned by AVIC, quoted en­gi­neers at the He­li­copter Re­search and De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute as say­ing that the Blue Whale will have a flight range of 3,100 km and meet de­mands of rapid troop de­ploy­ment of the Chi­nese army and navy.

The US is flight test­ing the Siko­rsky S-97 Raider high­speed armed he­li­copter. Siko­rsky Air­craft, the man­u­fac­turer, said it has a cruis­ing speed of 407 km/h, more than 100 km/h faster than the US’ Boe­ing AH-64 Apache that is widely con­sid­ered the best com­bat he­li­copter in the world.

Rus­sia is also re­search­ing de­signs for a stealth com­bat he­li­copter with ul­tra­fast speed, Rus­sian me­dia has re­ported.

We will de­sign two vari­ants of the Blue Whale — a medium-duty type and a heavy-duty one. ... They can fly as fast as 500 km/h.” Wu Xim­ing,

chief he­li­copter de­signer at Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Corp of China

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