<XMP><BODY></xmp>What are Helicopters for?

Helicopters: "Them things don't fly, they just beat the sky into submission"


        It occurs to me that a military unit will need four basic types of combat helicopter.
        The first is a dedicated attack helicopter used for anti-armour and anti-helicopter duties, recon and also as an escort and support fire platform. This will probably be two man.
        The second type will be a troop transporter that also mounts enough armament to defend itself and provide support fire for its dismounted squad.
        The third type is a smaller copter that will perform various roles, including Scout/Light attack. This may have two crew but also provide an additional front seat for an observer/ artillery spotter/ forward air controller -what has been termed the 21/2 seat configuration.
        Likely armament for the three above models would be a turreted 25mm gatling and various missiles and rockets. I've suggested the 25mm since it has sufficient velocity for air to air combat but also capability against light armour and soft-skinned vehicles.
        The fourth type is a heavy transport helicopter. Such a aircraft can transport supplies or even vehicles. The latter capability would allow an otherwise heli-mobile force to utilise heavy indirect fire weaponry.
         Many existing aircraft can fill the first three roles- such as the AH-64 Apache, MH-6 and UH-60 Blackhawk.
        What interests me is that all four roles parallel the requirements for ground vehicles that I've discussed elsewhere.
        Type One is the equivalent of a (light) Tank, Tank Hunter or Mobile gun system. Type Two is a flying IFV. Type Three is the equivalent of a multi-purpose team carrier such as the BV-206S and Type Four a flying truck.

UPDATE
        My ideas have changed a little
         We need one design that fills the role of the AH-64 Apache, AH-1 HueyCobra and the RAH-66 Comanche. This will probably be as described for the Type One. The original HueyCobra was a Gunship, Escort bird and close support platform. As the prospect of fighting the tank armies of the USSR grew it and the AH-64 were seen more as flying Tank Hunters. In later years the potential as destroyers of other helicopters was been realised. In future conflicts we are likely to see such platforms employed in a COIN and LIC role, so future gunships must be as nuch guerilla killers as tank killers.

        The second new type will replace the UH-60 Blackhawks, UH-1 Hueys, MH-6 Little birds and OH-58 Kiowas. This is mainly a Scout/Attack bird, but can also carry infantry or be used for high speed casevac. In the naval role it will be used for SAR and ASW. While the Type One Gunship helicopter has a COIN role, it must operate alongside helicopters that can transport a unit of infantry and still carry sufficient armament. These will be the "Flying IFVs/ACAVs" that will be vitaI for non-linear warfare. In the next generation of Type Two helicopters capabilites such as Mast Mounted and other sensors, countermeasures, chin turrets and armament hardpoints must be built in from the start, not added as a secondary system or afterthought. There are several current models of medium helicopter that can transport a squad of men and still mount armament, but there is obvious room for improvement.

Augusta A109
Lynx
Dauphin 2

        The future Type Two may look like a the two-seater Ka-52 with an infantry compartment.

        The third new type would be something like the MH-2000X that Mike Sparks proposes. Not only would this replace the CH-47 Chinook and the CH-53s, it would also see wider applications and in many cases replace the UH-60 as the standard troop transporter. The Russian Mi-26 can already transport vehicles of more than 19 tons, allowing it to move a pair of armoured cars or a single APC/IFV. With similar capability the MH-2000X could also perform many of the roles now filled by the C-130

        All of the above designs should make use of Piasecki systems.

        A force should also have available Very Heavy Lift Helicopters




By the Author of the Scrapboard :


Attack, Avoid, Survive: Essential Principles of Self Defence

Available in Handy A5 and US Trade Formats.

Crash Combat. Second Edition with additional content.
Epub edition. Second Edition with additional content.
Back to the Scrapboard



        To this page I'd also like to add two helicopter ideas by
Carlton Meyer. Click on the title links to see the full articles.

Tiny Ship Helicopters

        The Navy often uses $40 million dollar anti-submarine helicopters with three crewmen for basic "milk run" missions; like moving personnel and spare parts between ships and shore installations. Using expensive helicopters which cost $2000 an hour to operate is a waste of resources and detracts from training missions. Ships are so dependent on their LAMPS helicopters that a Fleet Admiral reviews a daily report about their status.
        Recent advances have made it possible to produce tiny, reliable, low-cost helicopters, such as the ASI Ultrasport 496 This helicopter can shuttle parts and personnel and a perform a myriad of other utility missions. They will prove superior for many daytime combat missions since they have a tiny radar, heat, and noise signature. Sea rescue is easy since their low rotor downwash allows them to pluck people directly out the water.
        The Navy should put at least one of these helicopters on all of its ships, including small Patrol Coastal (PC) ships. They take up little space, the Navy could even weld small platforms on the bow of ships for them. They do not require million-dollar aviators, enlisted men can fly them after a couple months of training. At a cost of only $50,000 each, the Navy could buy one for all 300 of its combat ships for less than a single anti-submarine helicopter. The cost of sending a few of these on test deployments aboard Burke destroyers is small, and ship captains would quickly affirm their value.

TypeTwo Seat Ultralight Helicopter
Empty Weight * 540 lbs. (245 kgs.)
Max Useful Load 590 lbs. (268 kgs.)
Max Gross Weight1130 lbs. (514 kgs.)
Fuel Tank *16 gal. (60 liters)
Endurance 2.5 hours
Minimum Speed Hover
Cruise Speed 61 Knots (69 mph) (112 km/h)
Vne * 91 Knots (104 mph) (167 km/h)
H.I.G.E. 10,800 ft.
H.O.G.E 7,000 ft.
Transmission11:1 Helical Spur Gears
Horsepower 115hp (Hirth F-30) with 4 carburators.
Main Rotor Blades 23 ft. dia., 6.7 in. chord
Tail Rotor Blades 2.6 ft. dia., 2 in. chord
Width 8 ft. (2438 mm)
Height 7 ft. 10 in. (2388 mm)M
Length 19 ft. 2 in. (5842 mm) with blades folded.


        *Special 495 lbs. empty weight ultralight version available by special order



Battalion Scout Helicopters

        The easiest way to improve the combat power of ground combat battalions is to provide them with four of their own scout helicopters. Few modern armies have scout helicopters which deploy alongside ground combat units. Helicopter reconnaissance is limited to expensive assets based far to the rear. Modern military helicopters have complex systems requiring heavy maintenance and fuel support. They are too large and expensive to permanently attach to frontline units or operate from rough terrain.
        Reconnaissance will be just one mission for this tiny helicopter. Frontline units often have urgent needs for spare parts, maps, medical supplies, and skilled people. The scout can dash to the rear to pick up whatever is needed. Evacuating wounded and snatching downed pilots are other missions where scouts will prove valuable. Forward air controllers and artillery observers instantly recognize the value of scout helicopters. Eventually, battalions may demand a dozen ultra-light scouts to fill all needs.
        One problem in many areas are landing sites. Landing at night or in bad weather is another challenge. The solution is to build a landing platform atop a truck, like on a HMMWV. It will have an embedded light system to guide the pilot, visible only from above. The helicopter can be strapped down during windy weather and moved about while atop the HMMWV. The HMMWV will also serve as home for the pilot and his mechanic.
        This is not a new idea. During the 1950s, the 10th Marine artillery regiment experimented with attaching tiny scout helicopters to an artillery battery for use by forward observers. The test was considered extremely successful, but the idea was never adopted because senior aviation officers insisted on centralized control of all air assets and buying only the best aircraft. However, this limits the flexibility and responsiveness of ground combat units. If a battalion approaches a hill and the commander needs to know what is on the other side, he cannot wait for requested support. Modern ultra-light helicopters are high-tech with the latest engines and designs. They are not expensive and require no research and development money. Hopefully, Generals will recognize their value and purchase hundreds of scout helicopters "off-the-self" and deliver them to frontline combat units.

By the Author of the Scrapboard :


Attack, Avoid, Survive: Essential Principles of Self Defence

Available in Handy A5 and US Trade Formats.

Crash Combat. Second Edition with additional content.
Epub edition. Second Edition with additional content.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]