The race to build ever-faster helicopters has seen some rather, um, unique designs take flight in recent years, but nothing quite like this Frankensteined airship from the AVX Aircraft Company. And though it may look strange, this concept chopper could soon be setting some new airspeed records.
Built as part of AVX's bid for the US Army's lucrative Army's Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program, the AVX concept aircraft looks to supplement the roles currently played by Black Hawk, Apache, and Chinook helicopters. The dual primary rotors of this 27,000 pound concept aircraft are expected to provide enough lift to pick up 13,000 pounds of cargo (slung externally) or 12 fully-equipped combat troops in addition to 4 crew members while the stubby wings on the fuselage should generate up to 40 per cent of the vehicle's lift when moving forward, supplementing the two ducted fans in the rear.
The AVX is up against similarly radical designs from Sikorsky, Bell, Karem, and Boeing. And though these designs are still years away from the front lines, you can be sure that the next generation of helicopters will look nothing like the last. [AVX via Gizmag]