<XMP><BODY></xmp> Rotary close air support

Rotary Close Air Support.


        Many Helicopter manufactures like to occasionally release drawings of sleek looking one man attack helicopters, rather like rotary wing F16s. While these look very good, most of current attack helicopter roles are about hovering behind trees rather than high speed flight. Since the pilot is flying nap of the earth, and is effectively operating as a ground vehicle, having an extra crewman who can concentrate on aiming weapons and spotting targets is unlikely to change.
        Does this mean that the one man, high speed attack helicopter remains a fantasy? Not if such a craft is used in a role previously dominated by fixed wing aircraft - that of Close air support.
        Many fixed wing CAS platforms operate at too high an altitude and have too high a minimum speed, often making it difficult to correctly identify and engage ground targets. What I propose is a high speed, one-man attack helicopter, probably with a separate pusher propulsion system.
        Army attack helicopters in an operations area operate at less than 100ft and do a lot of hovering. The CAS-copter will usually operate at higher altitudes and mainly use forward flight. Forward flight allows the wings to generate most of the lift and during forward flight the rotors can be allowed to auto-rotate and the rotor engine idle. Both these features conserve fuel and allow heavier weapon loads to be carried.
        A speed of at least 400mph should be possible, but the CAS-copter’s real strength is that it can also be flown as slow and low as the pilot needs to identify a target.
        It can also hover, turn on the spot and fire in a different direction to that which the aircraft is travelling in or fire down on a target without losing altitude. It can also operate from any available field or the deck of a container ship.
        In other words, the aircraft operates as a high speed combat autogyro, only powering its rotor for low speed operations or for take off and landing.
        This craft could be operated by Air Force pilots and used like a fixed wing CAS platform and use the same weapons. As well as bombs and missiles the CAS-copter could also mount multiple machine gun pods for infantry suppression missions in the role that was once performed by the AC-47 and B25 Strafers.
        This helicopter will probably have retractable undercarriage and short, but true wings. The wings will have control surfaces and hardpoints, although preferably weapons will be carried in a ventral bay.
        Ideally this would be a system that has many of the proven operating features of such aircraft as the SU39
        This system also has the potential to act as a fighter helicopter or Heli-Jäger to destroy opposing force’s anti-tank helicopters. It could also act with ground forces, including Army helicopters, to suppress enemy air defences (SEAD).

Other Support Aircraft Ideas.
The Buzzard and other aircraft.
The Groundhog
The Superbronco
The Ground attack Horten
Autogyros and Light Helicopters
ATT Gunship
A10 cactus airforce
Maneuver Air Support (MAS)
Maneuver Air Support 2
Air Mech Strike-Close Support Aircraft

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.
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