A Russian research firm has claimed a breakthrough in helicopter rotor blade design that makes it possible to boost the speed of combat helicopters to 400 Km/Ph, up from the existing maximum speed of 320-330 Km/Ph.
The Zhukovsky Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) and the Mil Design Bureau have designed new rotor blades that make the speed boost possible, km/h, TsAGI CEO Kirill Sypalo in comments quoted by TASS on Wednesday.
The development, if confirmed, could be a breakthrough in helicopter speed as the new rotors need no change in helicopter design and can be applied to all current and older generation choppers as well
"Previously, we flew at a maximum speed of somewhere 320-330 km/h, whereas now we are setting the achievable level of 400 km/h and higher," Sypalo was quoted as saying in a TASS report.
The new blades reduce negative aerodynamic effects arising for helicopters of the classical design at high speeds, the chief executive added.
"The unique profiles and aerodynamic arrangement of the helicopter blades reduce the effect of supersonic speeds arising at the ends of the blades. This is one of the sources of ensuring movement with a greater speed," the TsAGI chief said.
The rotor blades based on new principles can be used on the existing Mil helicopters, Sypalo said. "Considering that a great number of Mil helicopters have been produced, we will get a completely new quality of rotorcraft with the replacement of the blades," the chief executive said.
Helicopters are aerodynamically limited to a top speed of around 300-330 Km/Ph. Western helicopters manufacturers have managed to get over this by developing tilt-rotor systems in which the rotors move from a vertical position during lift-off to a horizontal position while cruising to achieve a high speed.
CEO of Russian Helicopters rotorcraft maker Andrei Boginsky earlier said that the company was going to offer Russia’s Defense Ministry technical solutions making it possible to boost the speed of helicopters currently in service.