Wed, Sep 21, 2005
What's That Tell You About Pentagon Confidence In The
It would look a lot like the V-22 -- only there would be so much
more of it. Just days before the Pentagon is expected to approve
full production of the Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, the US Army has
awarded the Bell/Boeing tiltrotor team a $3.45 million contract to
develop a bigger, more powerful version of the hybrid vehicle. It
will have four wings and four engines, be able to carry a 40,000
pound vehicle 250 miles in temperatures of 95F and has to be
developed within 18-months.
For Boeing and Bell, that should be no problem.
Four other companies are in on the bidding, including Boeing
alone, which will come up with a helicopter version of the Joint
Heavy Lift aircraft.
But it's the Bell/Boeing team that the handicappers who closely
watch military aviation are betting on. After all, that particular
team has decades of experience in developing the tiltrotor
The Quad Tiltrotor would virtually double many of the
capabilities of the V-22. Whereas the Osprey is built to carry 24
soldiers or ten tons of equipment, the Quad would carry 132 troops
or 20 tons of equipment up to 1,000 miles at 350 mph.
Will it work? We'll check back in 18 months... or less.
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