Radical dual tilting blade helicopter design targets speeds of over 270mph


July 7, 2014

The AVX Aircraft concept has coaxial rotors, ducted fans and a top speed of over 270 mph (435 km/h).

The AVX Aircraft concept has coaxial rotors, ducted fans and a top speed of over 270 mph (435 km/h).

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As one of the contenders in the race to win a $US100 billion contract from the US government for the next generation of attack helicopter in the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program, AVX Aircraft Company has conceived a futuristic machine kitted out with coaxial rotors, ducted fans and a retractable undercarriage that could hit speeds of over 270 mph (435 km/h).

For some decades now, the US Army has been incrementally upgrading its aging fleet of helicopters, but that approach is becoming expensive and limits are being reached as to what can be added to legacy platforms. As part of the overall JMR-TD program, the US Army-led Future Vertical Lift (FVL) stage aims to replace the service’s aging helicopter fleet with the Black Hawk, Apache, and Chinook all in line to be supplanted.The AVX concept is one of those proposed to the US Army as a possible replacement.

You may remember the AVX flying car concept previously covered by Gizmag; this helicopter seems to have much in common with that design with its coaxial rotor system and ducted fan propulsion system. This latest version, however, appears to be substantially larger, stronger, and faster in every way.

With a projected weight of 27,000 lb (12,000 kg), a claimed lift capacity of 13,000 lb (5,900 kg), and a planned ability to carry 12 combat troops plus 4 crew members, this AVX concept is directly targeted as a wide-ranging replacement for many aging members of the army air wing.

Sporting a pair of stubby wings up front to provide a claimed 40 percent of overall lift at flight speed, the concept also has a rear access ramp to permit cargo loading and fast egress for troops or small vehicles. The AVX comes in an attack version with a belly turret and floor weapon doors as well.

The competitors against which the AVX concept is pitted include a combination of tilt rotor and coaxial rotor designs, with the likes of the Sikorsky S-97 Raider (a new concept based on the success of its previous X2 demonstrator), the Bell V-280 Valor, the Karem TR36TD, and the Boeing-Sikorsky SB-1 Defiant. Provided that the AVX concept can attain its impressive proposed specifications, along with its claimed high-capacity, speed, and versatility, it appears to be one very able candidate in this competition, even amongst this array of heavy-hitters.

Based in Fort Worth, Texas, AVX was created by a group of former Bell Helicopter engineers in 2005 with the goal of producing a low-cost, high-performance modification to the US Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters. Its design approach is aimed at swapping the main rotor with rigid coaxial blades, shortening the tail, removing the tail rotor, and adding twin ducted fans for higher performance, and longer range. This patented coaxial rotor, twin-ducted fan design concept forms the basis of the current JMR proposal.

The JMR-TD FVL program aims to provide flying technology demonstrations by 2017.

The short video below shows an animated version of the AVX concept in action.

Source: AVX Aircraft Company

About the Author
Colin Jeffrey Colin discovered technology at an early age, pulling apart clocks, radios, and the family TV. Despite his father's remonstrations that he never put anything back together, Colin went on to become an electronics engineer. Later he decided to get a degree in anthropology, and used that to do all manner of interesting things masquerading as work. Even later he took up sculpting, moved to the coast, and never learned to surf. All articles by Colin Jeffrey

What if... we didn't need to kill people any more.

Mark A

Yeah , the militarily industrial complex would be out of power. Sadly dont see it happening. To many people profit from war and weapons.

Ramon Verhoeven

It's easier than a tilt-rotor

Germano Pecoraro

Well I guess it has civilian uses as well..... although guessing it's going to be a lot more expensive to operate than a small plane.


Sounds expensive! Check out YouTube, Fairey Rotodyne, circa 1960 Similar or better performance, not a computer in sight. Worked well, killed by Government and management disinterest!


Looks excellent as far more simple, lighter, more eff but higher lift rotors is the key. instead of collective pitch and all it's parts, weight they just lean the rotors in the direction they want to go.

It's how a 1 person electric commuter version for 30+ miles could work too.

It'll also require a lot less maintaining, running and fuel costs

The Fairey won't be anywhere near this ones abilities landing, hovering etc close to the ground. .


Why does in need four crew? Big airliners manage with only two.

I realise that helicopters are more difficult to fly, but surely there can be only person one in control at a time. In an age when we're seeing drones and driver-less cars, so many crew seems too much - to a mere laymen like myself anyway.

Or... with twelve military passengers, perhaps a couple are flight attendants!


Whoa this is cool! Hard not to love technology presented by a narrator with a really deep voice.

David Koons

"Big airliners manage with only two."

All those stewardesses are part of the crew.

"perhaps a couple are flight attendants!"

Loadmaster and door gunner.

Ron Johnson

"What if... we didn't need to kill people any more. "

Stop listening to John Lennon and pay attention to the real world: humans -- like their chimp and ape cousins -- regularly turn violent to get what they want, and nothing's going to change that.

Ron Johnson

well as long as there ARE people, some will need killing.

And in doing that, a close support craft probably needs gunners and electronic warfare specialists not just a driver and passengers.

Rich folks tend to feel their lives and perhaps others are more valuable, than may some who feel desperate and betrayed and angry at the modern world. Foolish, but true. Might as well emphasize what we got: economic power and technology.

john werneken

I keep seeing the reinvention of the wheel here. The AH-56 Cheyenne hit 244mph in the mid 1960's with no computers. That was FIVE decades ago.


Why the need for speed, which no doubt comes at a big cost plus complexity and a huge carbon footprint ? Are they hoping to dodge bullets?


War is nothing but a tool of the rich and wealthy on both sides. Why should I consider this after knowing the truth.

Rudy Quiñones

Anyone else remember the C-119 Flying Boxcars from WWII, this concept looks like they chopped the twin booms off and added folding coaxial rotors with ducted fan engines hung on each side...

Ever watch the movie, "Flight of the Phoenix"?

That said, here are some thoughts about this AVX design: 1. Nice that the rotors all are far above the ground, less things to hit. 2. Riding in the cargo space w/o any viewports would not be a fun ride. 3. Smooth Sides = Zero Stealth. 4. Dual folding coaxial rotors AND ducted engines = major maintenance 5. No tail rotor (TR) noise issues to deal with 6. No TR, drive shaft or gear box = Weight & Balance Calc. are better. 7. Ducted fans would be man eaters for deck crew


Interesting machine. I understand how it gets is reduced cost - by removing a lot of the mechanics used in traditional helicopters. Of course the problem with it is that the same thing can go even further. -

Take the common drone quad rotor or hex rotor, scale it up and you have a potentially even cheaper and more efficient design. Its all down to the power and transmission system. - Eg (coming up with this in a few minutes) a pair of turbo jets each driving high performance generators linked to a kers type energy storage system and (say) six electric out-runner engines each driving a prop directly. This design has high redundancy, you can use the jets to assist forward thrust or for vectored manoeuvring and the whole machine can be made to fold up fairly easily to reduce footprint/ or for storage. As for speed and cost - electric motor units can be designed to rotate without the complexity and cost of conventional tilt-rotor systems allowing the machine to use its full power for forward flight. The big problem with designs like the AVX is that its two ducted fans actually have less redundancy than a single unit because if either fails the machine basically becomes un-flyable except at very low speeds.

Robert Lucien Howe

I will go with the mechanically simpler Airbus X3 type pusher helicopter.


keep hoping we grow up enough to stop killing each other and stop making so many copies of ourselves on this already overburdened biosphere(guess what folks-this all we have the only place in the solar system were we can live-wake up and smell the coffee,pie in the sky has yet to be proven)-Kevin


Attack helicopter? I as a helicopter pilot for many years and I never attacked anyone. How about designing "Rescue helicopters" instead. Should not all attacks and intentional harm be a crime?. We don't need any more of that crap.

S. Willey
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