High-speed flight is the hallmark of Karem Aircraft's newly unveiled AR-40 helicopter, which the company is offering for the US Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft-Competitive Prototype (FARA-CP) programme, according to a company official.
Thomas Berger, Karem FARA programme director, told Jane's on 15 October at the 2019 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) convention that the aircraft's large wings enable Karem to get drag and vibration out of the rigid rotor by depitching it. Getting much of the load from the rotor and moving much of the weight onto the wings help with dynamics and efficiency, he said.
The AR-40 also features individual blade control that enables Karem to shape the trajectory of the blade as it rotates. This, Berger said, also allows Karem to get the best in performance, acoustics, and reliability vibration.
The AR-40's wings rotate to relieve the download in hover, allowing the full weight of the aircraft to hover at 4,000 ft altitude and 95°F, the US Army's standard. Berger said the wings provide great manoeuvre and control authority with the rotor in high- and low-speed flight. As the aircraft has a rigid rotor, Berger said it has a direct connection from the rotor to the aircraft, unlike traditional rotorcraft where the gimbled rotor moves first and the aircraft follows.
The helicopter, which has a 14 m fuselage, has a "huge" weapons bay to house the integrated munitions launcher. Berger said Karem designed the aircraft around the munitions launcher as it is part of the US Army's FARA-CP requirement.
The AR-40 has the width to accommodate side-by-side seating, which Berger said is the best for crew co-ordination. The width of the aircraft together with the length, he said, also provides room for additional mission equipment packages or additional passengers behind the cockpit.
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