ORLANDO, Fla. – A local company recently revealed its latest high-tech creation.
It's a simulator designed with a helicopter cockpit and it includes a large screen inside a semitrailer. The new one-of-a-kind future vertical lift-light portable full motion simulator was developed by Lockheed Martin Corp., which is based in Orlando.
It could possibly be the next helicopter of the future for the Army. The technology is so advanced that it can even be flown unmanned, making it safer and more versatile for military operations.
"With the capabilities that we're putting into this simulator, will allow army officers, army officials to come in and see that technology and know that when they purchase a helicopter of the future, it's exactly what they want. When this helicopter is out there, it's gonna be able to do things that current helicopters can't do," Michael Rein, communications director for the company, said.
System architect Dan Morrison said the helicopter could replace the Kiowa Warrior, which was retired from the Army a few years ago.
The simulator includes the actual aircraft flight controls that are touch screen. It's basically like a flying computer.
"Everything that we're gonna fly and do in this simulator, is realistic to the way the aircraft would fly. This helicopter, unlike a conventional helicopter, it has two main rotors, that allow us to remove the need for a tail rotor in the back. Since that's been removed, we can then put a pusher propeller in the back of the helicopter, which allows us to push forward and get much more velocity," Morrison said as he gave News 6 a demonstration.
Lockheed Martin is an American aerospace, defense and security company that is competing against other companies to be the ones to implement its innovative technology in the Army.
"The speed and maneuverability of this helicopter is really what we're experiencing in the simulator since we're using the real air dynamo model and we're using the real flight control system," Morrison said.
"It's a demonstration of the capability that we can give the army with a next generation of helicopter that they want. Basically, used for reconnaissance. They are looking for a helicopter that can be twice as fast and see twice as far as anything that they have today," Rein said.
So how fast can this new version go within a minute?
"We don't give out (that information), 'cause that's competitive right there. Our competition would love to know that so I can't give you that one," Rein said.
Among other features -- the chopper can flip.
"Conventional helicopters can't do a barrel roll but because of the rigid rotor system, on the X2 technology helicopters, aerodynamically, we're capable of doing that," Morrison said.
Rein said the helicopter will likely be used for decades to come.
"This technology here, whether in the final version that you see or whatever the version the Army wants, is gonna be the helicopter that flies for the next 40 or 50 years," Rein said.