While the United States struggles to fly its CV-22 Osprey rotorcraft due to a spate of crashes, Russia has claimed to have developed a convertiplane capable of vertical landing and take-off, much like the CV-22.
Russian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) “Hardberry-RusFactor” has developed a drone convertiplane “Dexterous” which can fly 2.5 times faster and farther than all the helicopters operating in the ‘special operation zone,’ Russian news agency RIA Novosti claimed.
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, often known as the World Air Sports Federation, defines a convertiplane as an aircraft that, during routine flight, changes to fixed-wing lift using rotor power for vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL).
The company’s CEO, Alexey German, told the publication that the company is offering the military the UAV today, and there are currently no drone analogs in the domestic market.
He further observed that the drone is built on the “convertiplane” concept and has a top speed of 160 kilometers/hour, reaching 200 kilometers per hour if needed. The CEO further emphasized, “We chose such a scheme to save energy – it takes off like an ordinary quadcopter, then, accelerating on its own in the air, flies like a plane.”
Explaining the distinctive advantage that the drone would provide, Dmitry Evseev, Deputy General Director of the company, said, “All vertical take-off and landing drones on the market today are made as follows: they have four screws on “bars,” a hull, and attached wings for vertical take-off. However, these UAVs remain ordinary quadcopters, whose speed reaches a maximum of 85 kilometers per hour, just as slow and clumsy.”
The “Dexterous” UAV can stay in the air for 2.5 times longer than any quadcopter while flying “on the wings” and using 70% less energy than them.
The innovation has a maximum flight height of five kilometers, a maximum flight range and data transmission of 50 kilometers, and a maximum flight time of one and a half hours. Just one operator is needed to maintain the drone because it could be launched without a catapult.
On top of this, he claimed that fire correction and surveillance are the two primary uses for the drone. After the operation, the experimental sample of the drone was reportedly given to the fighters at the front and was formally finalized.
The company completed the screw motor group, enhanced the device’s load capacity, and came to the conclusion that the ultimate iteration of “Dexterous” ought to be constructed of carbon as a result of its use in the SVO zone. This drone is invisible to the enemy’s air defense; to them, it is just another “bird,” according to Evseev.
He claimed the product had already been granted a patent for its industrial design and UAV software created by MAI staff members at RusFactor. The business is trying to draw investors to start a serial production.
Although the UAV produced by the Russian manufacturer has claimed an array of novel capabilities and specifications, it somewhat has similarities with the vertical take-off and landing capable V-22 Osprey multirole aircraft operated by the US military.
The V-22 Osprey – Aircraft Cum Helicopter
The V-22 is a tiltrotor aircraft, which is another type of a Convertiplane. A tiltrotor, sometimes known as a proprotor, is a fixed-wing device with driven rotors for propulsion and lift. The rotors are mounted on rotating shafts or nacelles. The aircraft’s rotors are tilted to push upward during vertical flight, similar to the action of a helicopter rotor.
With increasing velocity, the aircraft’s rotors rotate or tilt forward, and finally, they become perpendicular to the fuselage, like a propeller. The rotor creates thrust, and the wing produces lift in this mode. The tiltrotor can outspeed helicopters thanks to the wing’s increased efficiency.
The Russian manufacturer has also claimed that its new convertible plane can outspeed the helicopters currently deployed on the battlefield.
The two turbine engines in the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey each power a rotor with three blades. The rotors operate similarly to an airplane in forward flight and like a helicopter in vertical flight.
The Osprey is a unique multirole combat aircraft that combines the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft using tiltrotor technology. It can take off, land, and hover like a helicopter with its rotors in a vertical position.
According to the US Air Force, the Air Force Special Operations Command aircrew can carry out long-range special operations missions thanks to the incredible speed and range that this adaptable, self-deployable aircraft offers over conventional rotary-wing aircraft.
The CV-22 can carry out operations that typically require rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. The engine and prop-rotor group on each wing’s nacelles rotate forward as the CV-22 lifts off vertically. Moreover, with its integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, forward-looking infrared sensor, and other technologies, the CV-22 can function in various harsh environments.
In the past several years, Osprey crashes have resulted in the deaths of more than 50 US service members. Of these 50, about 20 of them were killed in four incidents that occurred in less than two years.
Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh stated at a news briefing last year that “we do have confidence in the Osprey” in response to suggestions that the aircraft should be phased out owing to persistent safety issues. Additionally, Singh underlined that “each incident undergoes its investigation” and that she would not “apply a sweeping broad stroke across every incident linking them together.”
The Marine Corps is well known for having its Marines land on beaches in times of conflict, but in this day and age, it isn’t easy, particularly with China and other rivals. Getting ships close enough to the coast to use civilian helicopters or military landing craft to deliver personnel is impossible since potential enemies now have mighty beach fortifications. This is where the importance of the Osprey is held up by its backers.
It allows amphibious ships to loiter at sea for hundreds of kilometers, permitting them to conduct a long-range attack on the beach. Two of its main advantages are its combat usefulness and range. The aircraft’s advantages have ensured its service continuation despite the many crashes that have tarnished its reputation.
While the Convertiplane developed by the Russian manufacturer is still nascent, it may have been produced to serve similar purposes as the convertiplanes used by the US military. However, that would be ironic given that the US has grounded its entire V-22 Osprey fleet in the wake of mounting criticism owing to recurring crashes.