Once a key part of the now defunct Deepwater Integrated Systems, the VTOL unmanned aircraft called Eagle-Eye was initially going to look a lot like a miniature V-22 Osprey, which features tilt-rotors
. Hangar space on the national security cutters could have accommodated up to two of them.
Aerospace engineer Dreier has been working on digital, analog, and hybrid simulations of helicopters, tilt-rotors
, and wind turbines.
For example, advanced technology such as "tilt-rotors" (rotor blades that can be angled to increase a helicopter's speed) will make helicopters more competitive with airplanes in terms of speed.
"The helicopter industry has a great opportunity if, in its excitement about tilt-rotors and X-wings, it isn't distracted from the unexciting, unglamorous, but tremendously important evolution of conventional helicopters that's now within its grasp."
Company officials remain confident in the V-22 Osprey and will use its operational experience to inform its next generation of tilt-rotors, Lowinger said.
"They range from the lowest risk, lowest cost and significant enhancements to what they already have all the way up to new stuff like X-2." Tilt-rotors may be a better fit for certain missions, he acknowledged.
In this, a common fuselage and tail surfaces are combined with either a straight wing carrying Osprey-style tilt-rotors, or a swept wing with two under-slung turbofans, presumably using externally-blown flaps for stol.
In September 2005 the US Army awarded 15-month, $ 3.4 million CDA (concept design and analysis) contracts to Bell-Boeing for the Quad-Tilt-Rotor (QTR), to Boeing for the Advanced Tandem Rotor Helicopter (ATRH), to Sikorsky for the X2 Technology Crane (X2C) and X2 High-Speed Lifter (X2HSL) and to Karem Aircraft for its Optimum Speed Tilt-Rotor (OSTR).
The most advanced rotorcraft flying today are the tilt-rotor Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey and AgustaWestland AW609.
The Bell Helicopters JMR-TD project is the V-280 Valor "third-generation" tilt-rotor, for which a maximum speed of 519 km/hr is claimed.
The technological challenge of filling the gap between the basic helicopter and a conventional fixed-wing aircraft has led to many different approaches, of which currently the best established is the tilt-rotor