Unmanned Helicopter System
The VRT300, with its unique coaxial main rotor blade units, is an in-development Russia foray into the unmanned rotary-wing aircraft market.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
While Russia has been relatively slow at adopting larger-scale drones for military and civilian use, the gap has shortened considerably with each passing decade. Enter the "VRT300" by VR-Technologies (under the Russian Helicopters parent label), designed as a twin-main-rotor Unmanned Aircraft System destined for the commercial market. The air vehicle is expected to begin its flight-testing phase before the end of 2018 and fulfill a broad range of commercial services - for Russia this means primarily the offshore drilling, environmental surveying, and icebreaking/data-collection roles but other potential sorties are set to include overwater Search-and-Rescue (SAR) and at-sea/offshore resupply.
The VRT300 features a co-axial main rotor system in which two main rotors are sat atop one another. Both rotors have three blades and these spin in opposite directions to effectively cancel out inherent torque effects while, at the same time, negating the need for a complex shaft-driven tail rotor unit (coaxial/stacked main rotors are a very common quality of Russian Kamov helicopters listed elsewhere on this site). The main rotors sit over the fuselage-body in the usual way and a heavy-fueled engine is used to drive them both. The body is deep and wide enough to house all pertinent operating components - fuel, avionics, mission systems - while a sensor blister is fitted in the "chin" position offering 360-dregee traversal, real-time High-Definition video feeding, and stabilization. A mission module can be slung under the fuselage between the two tube landing skids with payloads limited to 150lb of equipment. The tailplanes are arranged in split-vertical fin fashion and sit at the end of a short tail stem.
Two major variants are being drawn up by VR-Technologies for the VRT300 series: "Arctic Supervision" and "OpticVision". The former is outfitted with a side-scan, high-resolution X-band radar unit and the latter features increased operational ranges for operations in harder-to-reach areas. As it stands in mid-2018, the VRT300 design is nearly all fleshed out with serial production efforts being arranged.
The company is also developing the "VRT500" as a larger,manned offshoot of the VRT300 and categorized as a Light Utility Helicopter (LUH). This turbine-powered offering is set to fly for the first time before the end of 2019 and feature seating for five.