|American Aircraft "Penetrator"|
Bell UH-1 "Hueys" were stripped down to engine and transmission mounts, controls modified to tandem arrangement and re-covered with armored composite structure, containing troop-carrier compartment, two aft facing gunner turrets on either side of the engine and two forward facing turrets. The aircraft, named the "Penetrator", was also outfitted with stub wings which unloaded the main rotor in high speed flight, increasing airspeed. This aircraft was to satisfy South Korean government need for gunship and a troop carrier, addressing the "northern threat" of Mi-24 "Hinds". In 1990 Mr. Gorbachev declared truth with the rest of the World and American Aircraft fell into insolvency.
Caught in a "Catch 22" of mammoth proportions, military forces worldwide are faced with new wars and old helicopters. The technology they rely on is 20 to 30 years out of date, with designs that offer inadequate performance, no resistance to small arms fire and un-integrated weapons packages. Third-World military forces are particularly ill-equipped to fight today's conflicts, including world wide terrorism, hostage crisis, border conflicts and low-intensity warfare, because they, too, rely on outdated technology: Vietnam vintage helicopters that share obsolescence, redundancy, poor aerodynamic performance, ballistics vulnerability and no weapons.
American Aircraft Corporation (AAC) offers it's newly remanufactured, reconfigured helicopters to meet today's air/land battle threats, by incorporating the emerging technologies of the last two decades into its design. One of AAC's newest helicopters is the "Penetrator" - the only shock assault-lift all-composite gunship with a troop-lift capability for a squad of six soldiers plus a crew of four in the western world. It uses the Huey's very successful rotor system and powertrain as a base, but gives it a new high-performance, aerodynamic shape through innovative design. The basic model is an all-composite compounded helicopter with a gross take-off weight of 4280kg. The aircraft's aerodynamic fuselage minimizes profile drag and its wings and elevator unload the rotors during forward flight.
To reduce the Penetrator’s drag, all the machine guns, cannons and some rocket launchers are carried internally. The Penetrator’s weapons pods, rather than the blunt-end types currently in use, are aerodynamic free forms. The "Penetrator" commands more "cooperative" firepower by allowing 360 degrees perimeter capability and greater speed, range, agility and endurance. Its sleek multi-faceted shape also creates a lesser target, with a less observable signature in radar, infrared, acoustic and visual ranges.
With these advantages, the "Penetrator" ensures greater survivability for its crew and troop contingent in combat.
Currently, contemporary helicopters have only side door hung, forward-firing weapons and forward-facing "eyeballs". In the 75 years of air combat history, more than 80% of the vanquished never saw the victor because the defeated pilot was shot from the rear. The "Penetrator" offers the feature of a two-seat in tandem cockpit with the pilot positioned in the first seat for unobstructed vision and the forward-firing weapons operator is in the second seat, with the third and fourth weapons operators in seats aft of the main cabin to control rear-facing weapons. This firepower allows the "Penetrator" to perform as an excellent shock assault troop lift gunship with air-to-air, air-to-ground and ground-to-ground capability.
The "Penetrator", as a bristling troop lift gunship, has 360 degrees of perimeter firepower for the assault at the Landing Zone, as well as for air-to-air threats. Destruction of a "Penetrator" by sneak attack is literally impossible as long as the weapons operators are in position. It's composite construction of Kevlar reinforced by Nomex and the angular shape of its design afford the "Penetrator" ballistic resistance to small arms fire and low observability.
The addition of the Penetrator's troop-lift capability of a six man squad of soldiers, heavy ordnance of "massive firepower" capabilities puts the "Penetrator" in a class second to none. It is truly a massive firepower shock assault-lift gunship designed and built to suit today's Mission Objective and with the ability to win.
American Aircraft International of San Diego, California has developed the "Penetrator" two-seat gunship helicopter. This is based on an extensively modified Bell UH-1B "Iroquois" with a tandem two-seat cockpit, new fuselage shell incorporating flat armoured panels and a passenger cabin with two bulged observation windows. The Penetrator is fitted with stub wings, a skid undercarriage (or optional retractable tricycle gear), a lower fuselage rear-facing gun turret and two forward-firing cannon. The prototype (N3080W ex U.S.Army 63-8508) is powered by a 1300shp Avco Lycoming T52-L-13 turboshaft.
R.Simpson "Airlife's Helicopter and Rotorcraft", 1998