Rotorcraft Technology Validation Programme

Lead Participant: Agustawestland Limited

Abstract

The Rotorcraft Technology Validation Programme (RTVP) is a collaborative 4-year programme to flight-demonstrate world-leading UK helicopter technologies; active rotors, active Vibration Management Systems (VMS) and Condition Based Maintenance (CBM). The RTVP will sustain high value manufacturing jobs in AgustaWestland UK Yeovil plant and in the UK.
The innovative technologies to be developed and validated under the RTVP programme will help to revolutionise vertical flight. The active technology to be flight demonstrated in the UK will:
• Improve considerably riding qualities reducing vibration down to perceivable threshold
• Increase helicopter critical speeds by 10%
• Decrease noise
• Reduce operating costs
These performance benefits could increase the AgustaWestland market share significantly, increasing the UK content of those helicopters, providing additional revenue and sustaining jobs for the UK aerospace industry. AgustaWestland Ltd currently procures about £900M of equipment and services from UK sources, many of which are SMEs, and this number would be boosted significantly.
The RTVP will focus on three key technologies:
• Active Rotor Systems – The development of active trailing edge and active lag damper technology to flight test.
• Active Vibration Management Systems – The development and flight test of active control algorithms and the Vibration Management System to control active dampers, active trailing edges, and existing systems
• Rotor Health and Usage Monitoring (HUMS) and Conditioned Based Maintenance (CBM) – The development and flight test of in-rotor self-powered sensor/data capture technology, data transfer (wireless) and data processing.
The RTVP will build on existing relationships/partnerships within the TSB-supported REACT programme (Universities of Bristol, Liverpool and Leicester) and will harness the expertise of key governmental organisations with AgustaWestland UK’s industrial partners and suppliers. This will ensure a clear route to disseminate new information and knowledge through the supply chain and into the wider industrial base.
The RTVP will enable technologies for future generation aircraft to move from experimentation to exploitation. Once these technologies are validated they will be developed and embodied throughout the entire range of AW helicopters and exploited within other applicable market sectors such as renewable energy. By completing development of these systems in the UK, AgustaWestland Ltd will:
• Ensure the UK continues to be at the leading edge of vertical flight innovation and high-value aerospace technologies
• Create spin-off technologies into other UK industries
• Create a pool of expertise to sustain additional UK work share (est. 300 people)
• Enhance the high-value manufacturing base in the southwest UK
• Support UK technology infrastructure through industry, university, schools and training

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Agustawestland Limited, SOMERSET £14,405,850 £ 4,825,000
 

Participant

University of Liverpool, United Kingdom £500,000 £ 500,000
University of Bristol, United Kingdom £550,000 £ 550,000

Publications

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