This invention comprises of an aircraft that is capable of both sustained out-of-ground effect hover flight and sustained supersonic flight
Hovering aircrafts that have taken the form of conventional helicopters have a fundamental problem with the horizontal rotor when they start to move in the horizontal direction because of extreme aerodynamic challenges. Several attempts have been made to address the issues concerning high speed effects with limited success. The approaches taken by many have been shown to be difficult to manage, affect the flight performance because of transonic effects, and have been expensive. Many of the designs have not been fundamentally compatible with aircraft that are capable of sustained supersonic flight. The invention describes an aircraft that hovers for an extended period of time, transitions to dash at supersonic speeds for an extended period of time, and then transitions back to hover-mode flight to land.
The SHAV can be used in any operation which requires a rapid, unseen and undetected response. It can take-off and return to any ship because the vertical take-off and landing eliminates the need for a flight deck. Its capability for supersonic flight and precision landing make it suitable for highly disparate mission points.
This vehicle includes various embodiments that relate to a new class of aircraft that is being developed for highly disparate mission points, and spanning hover through supersonic flight. More specifically, these embodiments relate to a class of aircraft which uses counter-rotating unducted rotors to sustain the aircraft in hovering flight, then gaining altitude and airspeed, pitching over and flying at ever faster speeds through supersonic flight. The aircraft is also capable of any number of transitions in and out of the various flight modes.
A typical mission profile could include a vertical launch state, followed by retraction of the undercarriage and a transition to high-speed mode flight at which time the rotor would be used as a propeller at subsonic speeds. As the aircraft approaches transonic speeds, the propellers will stop and stow, enabling the aircraft to penetrate the sound barrier. Upon the arrival of a set destination, the aircraft can slow down to subsonic speeds, activating the rotor, and transition to hover mode flight while it completes its mission. Following the completion of the mission, it then can return to the launch base under a similar sequence of events.
The invention has the capability to hover for extended periods, transition and dash at supersonic speeds for an extended period of time, and then transition back to hovering-mode flight and land with precision.
There are no hovering aircrafts that can supercruise and no supersonic aircrafts that can hover for a long period of time. The invention describes an aircraft that can hover for an hour or more and also supercruise.