2018 is going to be a big year for futuristic helicopters as new helos and next-generation designs emerge. These exciting new helicopters are becoming more powerful, flying far faster and even flying missions by themselves.
For the military, helicopters are absolutely crucial, and will only become even more so, in war zones. They also play vital roles in humanitarian missions.
The Paris Air Show and Farnborough Air Show are iconic fixtures on the aircraft circuit where the top companies in the world showcase their latest and greatest. There was no shortage of cool aircraft on show in 2017, with some particularly innovative new military helicopters grabbing attention. The best aerospace companies continue to pioneer military aircraft and 2017 was a year of exciting advances in rotorcraft.
The new futuristic RACER helicopter made waves at Paris with its unique futuristic look. Development work on another futuristic helicopter, the X6, is also underway. This new helicopter could mean that the military capabilities of key American allies may be boosted.
Back in the states, there was massive news for the Marines. In September, it was announced that the ultra-powerful King Stallion with far more advanced capabilities will begin construction and soon join the Marine Corps.
Here are 3 of the most amazing reveals of new military helicopters in 2017.
This ultra-powerful new helo can carry an astonishing three times more weight than its predecessor.
And it is not just super-strong, the Marines’ cutting-edge new helicopter is incredibly advanced in other ways too. In fact, it is so “smart” it can nearly fly itself.
With the King Stallion, the Marine Corps will be able to rapidly move more Marines from a ship to join the fight in a war zone. In addition to better supporting special operations missions, the advances will also provide advantages for search and rescue missions and quickly transporting supplies to Marines at remote, hard-to-reach, operating bases.
It could also help save lives - King Stallion will be able to evacuate more casualties to medical aid more quickly.
Made by Lockheed Martin Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, the CH-53K King Stallion will be the Marine Corps’ next-gen heavy lift helicopter, replacing the CH-53E Super Stallion.
In addition to world-class self-defense weapons, the new helo incorporates advanced lightweight armor-enhanced ballistic protection. The troop seats and retracting landing gear are also engineered to be crashworthy.
Capable of carrying vehicles as massive as HMMWVs, or “Humvees,” the new helo is still fast and will have a cruise speed of 141 knots with a range of about 530 miles.
King Stallion has many safety features built in to enhance the safety of Marine Corps personnel. One of the most important features will let pilots “see” through DVE - Degraded Visual Environments – that continue to be a dangerous threat in war zones.
Find out more about what the new King Stallion can do and the new technology that will help keep Marines safer [New King Stallion helicopter boosts Marines’ aerial power]
New X6 Military Helicopter
The large, next-generation X6 helicopter also arrived at Paris Air Show as a belle of the ball with big news -- the European Commission green lit funding the development of the new helicopter.
The radical twin-engine X6 could replace the widely-used military Super Puma and H225 helicopters that provide long range capabilities while carrying a lot of personnel. Both helicopters can reach speeds of about 140 knots and carry up to about 19 warriors.
Some of the design is expected to be similar to Airbus’s recent H160 medium five-bladed helicopter. Like the H160, the X6 will be a quieter aircraft thanks to features like advanced low-noise blade technologies. It is also expected that the X6 will be made from new advanced materials.
Many of the details remain under wraps, but the heavyweight X6 should deliver next level range, power and speed – and with further advantages like fuel and cost reductions.
While the X6 concept was first featured in 2015, it was 2017 when the futuristic aircraft became more than a dream. France will be loaning €330 million and Germany €47.25 million to make the X6 a reality. [Paris Air Show: 4 exciting new aircraft featured]
In just two years or so, the very first X6 may be hitting the skies.
New Search and Rescue RACER Helicopter
A new, futuristic-looking helicopter for search and rescue called RACER (Rapid and Cost-Effective Rotorcraft) was revealed at the Paris Air Show.
Made by Airbus, the goal is to make the helicopter 50 percent faster than today’s regular helicopters. The new helicopter has a very distinctive look in part due to the “box wing," which can help reduce drag, while improving fuel efficiency.
Speed would play a vital role in reaching wounded warriors quickly and getting them back to field hospitals far faster – this sort of speed would save lives.
Although it looks very futuristic and is only in the design phase, the RACER is expected to be in the air flying within three years.