The Vietnam war has proved the effectiveness of the helicopter as a strike weapon. Now?
The Vietnam war has proved the effectiveness of the helicopter as a strike weapon. Now the Sikorsky corporation, one of the largest manufactures of helicopters in the United States, has developed a new, high-performance helicopter gunship, the S.67. They call it the Blackhawk -- and it has proved to be a record-breaker.
Unlike most helicopter designs, the Blackhawk prototype incorporates wings. The 28 foot wingspan gives the machine greater lift at high speed. It also provides a mount for missiles, guns and bombs.
The Blackhawk also has speed brakes -- wing flaps to hold it steady during gunnery runs. These increase the capability of the helicopter to dive on its target.
Powered by twin turbines, the Blackhawk also sports an aircraft-type tailplane, with a vertical swept-back fin. If the tail rotor is damaged in combat, the helicopter can land making use of the fin.
The new machine has a range of 600 miles (960 kms) and it can therefore play a useful role in rescuing downed pilots.
Already, the Blackhawk has broken two helicopter records. It has dived at 239 m.p.h. (384 kms/h) and it has flown at a speed of 225 m.p.h. (362 kms/h) in level flight.