back to article X2 triplex supercopter gets tail-drive hooked up

US helicopter firm Sikorsky has announced successful ground testing of its "X2" twin-rotor, tail-prop high speed helicopter prototype with the tail propulsor fitted and working. The firm says the X2 is on track to achieve 250-knot speeds this year - beating normal helicopters by two thirds again. Sikorsky art of the X2 …


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  1. Gordon Grant
    Thumb Up

    Ah the new executive chopper is almost ready....

    I can see it now all the exec's waiting one of these.

    I do like it that these guys are ponying up the R&D money themselves not doing the research on someone else's dollar.

    I hope it all works out... 250knots in a chopper impressive.

  2. Ozbon
    Black Helicopters

    How does it land?

    Looking at that illustration of the X2, how does it land? It looks like wheels at (roughly) the midpoint, but it's not going to balance on those.

    Usually there'd be a tail-wheel in this case, but there's none on the image, so the only other conclusion is that the back-end will rest on the edge of that fin. Seems odd, if nothing else...

  3. dervheid
    Thumb Up



  4. Anonymous Coward

    Are we forgetting something?

    "the X2 is on track to achieve 250-knot speeds this year - beating normal helicopters by two thirds again"

    Well if it is 2/3 faster than any normal helicopter, it will need to reach 361 knots as the 1986 Westland Lynx can already achieve 217 knots...

  5. The Cube

    Is it just me or does this look like a £9.99 radio controlled toy?

    Indeed, why waste all that time on the tail propeller when they could just stuff a large firework up its arse?

    Also, will the Americans give their 'allies' the radio controls for these helicopters to help reduce the incidence of friendly fire? In fact, even better, why put an American pilot and everyone else at risk when they could just launch them as UAVs and program them to fly into control range of their allies' forces on the ground?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perfect timing

    I believe a "rebooted" Airwolf is due to be announced any day now

  7. P.Nutt
    Black Helicopters

    They should think bigger.

    Doesn't the Westland Lynx hold the helicopter speed record at 249mph+ (from a early 70's design) you would expect this new bunch to be aiming for 300mph at least rather than a single mph surely.

  8. daily


    Judging by the apparent size and position of the cockpit, it looks like anyone attempting to walk over to the 'copter will instantly be beheaded.

  9. Joel

    Where do I fit a platoon?

    I think the whole point of the V22, regardless of how well it performs or how controversial it is, was to be able to carry at least a platoon of soldiers and their equipment at high speeds to achieve rapid deployment combat initiatives. From the picture at least, I dont see where they will fit 10-12 heavily armed paratroopers. Even it it were to be upscaled, the rear prop is going to require some sort of a drive shaft if you nix a helper engine. Either way thats going to be a space problem, unless they went electric with the rear engine. It looks like it could make a nice attack helicopter though and could escort the more ungainly V22 around the battle field. But it's got its work cut out for it playing head to head against the Cobra, the Apache, and even the A-10II.

  10. david

    aaaah aaaah aaaah oooh ah ah

    That is sexy!

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    Development at their own expense?

    That and the shape, lead me to believe that this is the Tesco's Value sausage* of the helicopter world.

    *Because of the astonishingly low Pork content.

  12. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Retractable rotor?

    We already have helicopters with rotors that power-fold after landing, so surely a better solution would be a conventional plane with a folding and retracting double rotor (ala Kamov) in the cabin roof? Unfold the rotor for take-off, then use normal engines and rotor lift until forward speed reaches the point where wing lift can support the plane, then the rotor can be stopped and folded away and conventional flight pursued. If a vertical landing is required or you want to hover, the forward speed can be lowered to that at which the rotor can be unfolded and powered up, then the speed can be reduced until rotor lift is supporting the plane again. Such a setup would give the advantage of allowing conventional or vertical take-offs and landings. And it would have really cool Tranformer connotations!

  13. Alain Moran
    Black Helicopters

    I spy with my little eye, something beginning with


  14. Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Bryant

    Fuck me! That sounds so complicated it'll never get off the ground (pun intended!).

    Compare that engineering nightmare to the basic simplicity of this baby, and even the "wtf was I thinking?" tiltrotors!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Retractable rotor? No thanks

    @Matt Bryant: In-flight transitions such as the ones you describe are incredibly difficult both from an engineering and aerodynamic POV. Think about the aerodynamics of the craft as the rotors are folding/unfolding while traveling forward at high speed... It's slightly harder than trying to do origami while standing in the back seat of a convertible sports car with the top down while driving at 150 mph...

    If you look at previous examples, the transitions are always the hardest problem: the V22, the Harrier (which "merely" orients its ducts), the STOVL variant of the F35. Even the swing-wings on the old Tornado turned out to be much harder than expected to engineer.

  16. James O'Brien
    Black Helicopters

    Tell me

    When do we get a reboot of the Airwolf franchise with one of these in the lead role?

    @Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 3rd February 2009 13:52 GMT

    "the X2 is on track to achieve 250-knot speeds this year - beating normal helicopters by two thirds again"

    I point out the word "NORMAL" there. What dont you understand about it?

    /Black Heli cause just fits

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Ooh shiny...:)

    @ P. Nutt: the article quotes "The firm says the X2 is on track to achieve 250-knot speeds this year"

    10 knots equals roughly 11.5 mph, so 250 knots equates to nearly 288 mph.

    That's just this year, loads of work to be done still but it looks damn impressive.

  18. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Hey, whaddabout the Pogo?

    Didn't the Convair XFY-1 Pogo manage 530 knots? Since it took off vertically with the rotors horizontal surely it counts.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fairey Rotodyne

    Someone has to mention the Fairey Rotodyne:

    190 knots, in 1959.

  20. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    Looks like a Picoo-Z

    ... but a bit bigger.

  21. Shadow Systems Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    (Excessive geeky drooling)

    Where do I send my money, and can I get it in all matte black?

    (Whispering "Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!" under my breath...)


  22. espressoSquirrel
    Black Helicopters

    wouldn't a synchrocopter be a better starting point

    two blades on top of each other like that, going in opposite directions, won't that make it vibrate, as it wont be symmetrical loading. I know that is a common design, but at high speed the effect would be amplified.

    a synchrocopters intermeshing blades would make it symmetrical, stable and best of all looks really evil. look up the karman k-max

  23. Mark
    Black Helicopters

    Russki's got there first

    Haven't time to do exhaustive research on the issue, but a quick Google turned up the KA-50

    I grant that the KA-50 is still in the 150kt category though; it doesn't have a pusher prop (or Airwolf style jet assistance!)

  24. Bernard S Gurman


    For stability and safety, the pusher prop should be ducted. The idea to vary counter rotors speed should help to avoid problems like the Lockheed Cheyenne rigid rotor.

  25. James Hughes

    @Matt Bryant and others

    Can't be that difficult - those Transformer robot thingies (Robots In Disguise) do it all the time.

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