Many people think about how helicopters will look in a few decades. This issue is especially interesting for the military, who, like everyone else, do not want to fly tomorrow on yesterday's helicopters.
That is why the American Pentagon is carrying out several projects at once related to the development of new models of helicopters. Most recently, they entered into an investment agreement with four aircraft manufacturers as part of a vertical takeoff aircraft development program for the next 25-40 years.
These companies include renowned manufacturers such as Bell Helicopter and Sikorsky Aircraft, as well as lesser-known AVX Aircraft and Karem Aircraft. All of them have already started the first stage of development of the new type of helicopter. If all goes well, the Pentagon will receive the first operational helicopter models of the future in 2017.
What will they be like? Of course, the new type of aircraft will be fast. For example, the experimental helicopter X2 from Sikorsky Aircraft with twin coaxial propellers of an unconventional design already in 2010 developed a speed of 250 knots, which is approximately twice the cruising speed of modern helicopters.
A few more interesting concepts of the helicopter of the future are in development at DARPA - the Agency for Advanced Defense Developments of the United States. The VTOL X-Plane program aims to radically improve VTOL aircraft. The objectives of the VTOL X-Plane program include a sustained flight speed of 300-400 knots, a targeting efficiency of 75%, and the ability to carry a "payload" of 40% of the weight of the helicopter itself.
One of the early participants in the VTOL X-Plane program was renowned aircraft manufacturer Boeing, which recently unveiled the Phantom Swift prototype. A distinctive feature of the model was a combination of propellers located both in the body of the helicopter and on its wings.
Looking a little further into the future, until about the mid-21st century, will help the video Aviation 2050 Vision, released by the US Department of Aviation. In it, like in any video game, the military actions of the future are shown. The indispensable participants of which were the very same vertical takeoff aircraft.