MARS helicopter: Bell Penetrator
The Morrow Project planners needed a helicopter gunship – but these are difficult to obtain. The planners also wanted a multi-purpose aircraft that could perform other functions – such as VIP transport
The Morrow Project’s solution was to modify a Bell 212 airframe (the type selected for the MORROW PROJECT heliborne UNIT). The airframe was stripped down and reduced to framework and drivetrain. The engines were replaced by 2 standard Morrow Project fusion power-packs. Also, the side-by-side crew cockpit configuration was replaced with tandem seating and the airframe was covered with lightweight panels of Kevlar/Nomex composite material – giving protection against small arms fire. A major change to the design was to equip the aircraft with stub wings – which enable the rotor to be ‘unloaded’ at high speed.
The result of these major modifications is that the aircraft (codenamed “Penetrator”) is a more streamlined and efficient rotorcraft than the Bell 205/Huey – and is much more stealthy. It operates with a crew of 2 or 4 and is equipped with a troop-carrying compartment that can transport 6 seated personnel or 2 litters. The pilot and weapons operator (who controls a nose-mounted 20mm cannon) sit in the cockpit, while the weapons stations for 2 additional gunners are in the prominent ‘blister’ sections on each side of the aircraft.
Every crew position can control one of the turrets mounted at each of the 4 corners of the fuselage underside. The turrets are remote 7.62mm machine gun mounts – each is equipped with an M60 machine guns and 1500 rounds. The turrets can fire forward, sideways, or backwards. The forward gunner can additionally link all the turrets to fire on a single target to the front or sides of the aircraft.
The Penetrator can transport a payload of 1137 kg and has internal cargo/ordnance bays for the swift unloading and loading of stores. It”s only big disadvantage is that the personnel doors (one on each side) are small and only allow 1 person to embark or disemabark at a time.
Crew: 2 or 4
Passengers: 6 or 8 (or 2 litters plus 2 attendants)
Width of airframe/rotor: 6.6m/14.53m
Weight (empty): 2364kg
Weight (Max takeoff): 432okg
Max Speed: 278kph
Max Rate of climb: 549 m/min
Service Ceiling: 5639m
Armament: 1 20mm cannon (350 rounds)
4 M60 machineguns (1500 rounds each)
note: each stub wing can mount the M159C rocket pod – but this reduces speed by 5%