Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR MAY 2015 Contents INNOVATIONS
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 09 | MAY 2015
The AVX JMR-TD co-axial rotor system design. Image: AVX
To keep the door open to innovative technologies, the US
Army extended technology investment agreements with AVX
Aircraft Company and Karem Aircraft to continue concept
refinement and technology maturation for future vertical lift
Joining Bell Helicopter and the Boeing-Sikorsky team, the
agreements will foster further technology maturation within
the two companies and expand the knowledge base of the
Army’s Joint Multirole – Technology Demonstrator (JMR-
TD) program efforts in support of FVL decision milestones.
The JMR-TD program is intended to advance candidate
technologies and designs to de-risk the Army’s FVL
acquisition program to replace legacy rotary-wing platforms.
According to a US Army release dated 13 April, AVX
will mature its co-axial compound design, focusing on
aerodynamic stability, high fidelity computational fluid
dynamic analysis and limited wind tunnel testing scheduled
Karem Aircraft will fabricate and test sub-component
articles of its Optimum-Speed Tilt-Rotor (OSTR) concept,
which will include rotor blades and hub components such as
actuators, bearings and electronics. These steps are part of a
hub integration functionality test to prepare for full-scale wing-
rotor ground tie-down testing.
The JMR-TD will demonstrate a mix of capabilities to
investigate realistic design trades and enabling technologies.
Results from the JMR TD air vehicle demonstration will
inform the FVL effort of promising vehicle configurations, the
maturity of enabling technologies, attainable performance and
capabilities, and highlight the affordable technical solutions
required to achieve those capabilities.
The AVX JMR-TD design features a co-axial rotor
configuration coupled to twin ducted push fans for
50 per cent greater speed (236 knots maximum) and
range (1,000km maximum) and improved hot/high hover
performance over a conventional helicopter, with flight
performance similar to a fixed-wing aircraft but with
helicopter-like low speed manoeuvre characteristics, the
With a ‘smaller footprint than a helicopter and much smaller
than a tilt-rotor’, the AVX design offers both utility and attack
versions in a common airframe that share in excess of 90
per cent parts commonality. The utility variant has more than
double the cabin volume of the UH-60L Black Hawk, more
cabin height and width than a V-22 Osprey and the ability
to carry an 8 tonne internal load 50 per cent faster than
The craft features retractable landing gear and the attack
variant carries all armaments retracted inside the cabin, only
deploying outside the airframe before firing. This provides a
‘clean’ aerodynamic design and renders it essentially identical
in external appearance to the utility variant. This also makes
it difficult for observers to determine which variant of the
aircraft is deployed.
Few details about Karem’s TR36TD OSTR design for JMR-
TD were available at press time, although the company claims
it offers revolutionary vertical lift capability for both military
and commercial applications, combining the ‘fast, inexpensive
and safe operation of efficient fixed-wing airplanes with the
robust hover capability of the best open-rotor helicopters’.
– Matthew Mendenhall
See also ‘Designs chosen for Joint Multi-Role helo program’ in the
September 2014 issue of DTR.
US Army fosters Future Vertical Lift concepts
In two firsts, the US Navy’s (USN) Naval Air Warfare
Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) has successfully
demonstrated a guidance capability for the Tomahawk Block
IV cruise missile when it hit its first moving maritime target on
Launched from the guided missile destroyer USS Kidd in
waters off San Nicolas Island, California, the missile altered
its course mid-flight on its way to the mobile ship target after
receiving position updates from surveillance aircraft.
“This is a significant accomplishment,” said Captain Joe
Mauser, Tomahawk Weapons System program manager.
“It demonstrates the viability of long-range communications
for position updates of moving targets. This success further
demonstrates the existing capability of Tomahawk as a netted
weapon, and in doing so, extends its reach beyond fixed and
re-locatable points to moving targets.”
Joining forces with Raytheon Missile Systems, NAWCWD
leveraged existing Tomahawk strike communications
frameworks to develop the synthetic guidance technology.
A second flight test on 29 January demonstrated a reduced
mission planning time in a realistic ‘call for fire’ scenario, and
involved another missile launched for USS Kidd in support of
shore-based Marines staged on San Nicolas Island.
Using GPS navigational updates, the missile performed a
vertical dive to impact on San Nicolas Island, scoring a direct
hit on the target designated by the Marines. The test provided
valuable data for the Marine Expeditionary Force to evaluate
and evolve their call for fire capability.
The Tomahawk weapon system is the USN’s precision
strike stand-off weapon for long and medium-range attack
of tactical land targets and is currently fielded on numerous
surface and sub-surface platforms. Tomahawk is also
employed by submarines of the Royal Navy.
Whereas previously the Tomahawk Block IV could strike
targets deep inland at ranges up to 1,600km, the January
demonstrations point to a new realm of operational utility for
the missile, which is now able to prosecute maritime targets
at great distances beyond the horizon.
In a related development, Raytheon is preparing to test a
new multi-mode seeker for the Tomahawk Block IV.
Planned for the second quarter of 2015, the captive flight
test will be designed to demonstrate the processor’s ability
to broadcast active radar as well as passively receive target
electromagnetic radiation, which was demonstrated in
February 2014. This, the company says, is a critical step in
enabling the missile to strike moving targets on land and at
During the test the nose cone of a Tomahawk Block IV
missile will be equipped with active and passive RF antennas
integrated with Raytheon’s new modular, multi-mode
processor and fitted to a T-39 twin-jet aircraft. Flying at high
subsonic speed and at varying altitudes, the aircraft will
simulate a Tomahawk flight regime.
According to Raytheon, the multi-mode seeker and multi-
function processor will operate the active radar against fixed
and mobile targets on land and at sea, in complex, high-
density electromagnetic environments.
– Matthew Mendenhall
A synthetically guided Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile successfully
hits a mobile ship target on Januar y 27. The missile altered its course
toward the target mid-flight after receiving position updates from
surveillance aircraft. Image: US Navy
Tomahawk missile hits first moving maritime target
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