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JVX:  Tilt-Rotor Future Or Folly?
CSC 1984
                       JVX:  TILT-ROTOR FUTURE OR FOLLY?
                                 Submitted to
                                Dr. R. Wiggins
                    In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements
                          for Written Communications
                 The Marine Corps Command and Staff College
                              Quantico, Virginia
                            Major J. J. Porter, Jr.
                          United States Marine Corps
                                 6 April 1984
                 JVX:  TILT-ROTOR FUTURE OR FOLLY?
Thesis statement:  JVX's tilt-rotor technology possessess the
                   greatest potential to satisfy the Marine
                   Corps' medium assault transport helicopter
                   requirement from the 1990's into the
                   twenty-first century.
  I. Evolution of JVX
     A.   CH-46 program
     B.   HXM program
     C.   JVX program
 II. Tilt-rotor technological developments
     A.   Tilt-rotor advantages
     B.   Transcendental Model 1-G
     C.   Bell XV-3
     D.   Boeing-Vertol VZ-2A
     E.   Bell XV-15
III. Impact upon the Marine Corps
     A.   Concept with no changes in employment/missions
     B.   Concept with changes in employment/missions
          1.  Over-the-horizon amphibious assault
          2.  OV-10 -replacement
          3.  Self-deploy capability
          4.  Intra-theater capability
     The Marine Corps has proven itself to be a light, mobile,
amphibious force capable of rapid-response and forcible-entry
worldwide.  In order to accomplish this feat, it has been in
the vanguard of the development and employment of certain
doctrine and equipment.  Examples of this include amphibious
doctrine, helicopter assault support, and AV-8 Harrier
offensive air support.  With the pressing requirement to
replace its aging CH-46 medium assault transport helicopters,
the Marine Corps has yet another opportunity to develop new
     This new development is the Joint Services Advanced
Vertical Lift Aircraft (JVX).  JVX is a tilt-rotor aircraft.
It has an airframe that is basically one of a fixed-wing
aircraft with movable rotors located at each wingtip.  However,
it has the capability to change from a fixed-wing mode to a
helicopter mode.  Because of its versatility, speed, and
range, JVX's tilt-rotor technology possesses the greatest
potential to satisfy the Marine Corps' medium assault trans-
port helicopter requirement from the 1990's into the twenty-
first century.
     JVX will replace a helicopter that first flew in 1962
and has seen continuous service in the Marine Corps since 1964.
The Boeing-Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight was first ordered in 1961,
and the last of 600 helicopters was delivered in 1971.  During
its delivery period, the aircraft underwent improvements and
two model redesignations in 1966 and 1968.1  With a view
toward modernizing its existing fleet, the Marine Corps began
modifying all CH-46's in 1977.2  Beginning in late 1984, the
Marine Corps will further modernize its fleet by a Service
Reliability and Maintainability Program designed to extend
the Sea Knight's service life into the 1990's.
     The need to replace the CH-46 was first identified twelve
years ago, when the Marine Corps initiated its requirement to
develop a medium-lift, next-generation helicopter.  This
V/HXM Program was supported in 1981 by then Deputy Secretary of
the Defense, Graham Claytor, but was questioned by the Navy.
The Navy's suggestion to purchase additional CH-46's or H-60's
was opposed by the Marine Corps on grounds that it would have
been a temporary solution to long-term needs.3  In addition
to intraservice disagreement, three other events spelled the
end of the V/HXM Program.
     The first event was the issuance of a 27 August 1981
memorandum from Dr. Richard DeLauer, Under Secretary of Defense
for Research and Engineering.  He requested that all service
secretaries examine the possibility of combining Vertical/Short
Takeoff and Landing (V/STOL) and helicopter needs into one
program.4  In mid-September 1981, General P.X. Kelley,then
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, responded to the
Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, that  "'It appears to me
that the proposed development program basically offers ...the
Navy an opportunity to solve the Marine Corps' V/HXM require-
ment while providing an aircraft with the potential to meet
the needs of other services.'"5
     The second event was the issuance of a September 1981
Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Fiscal Year 1983
Program Objective Memorandum (POM) review.  This POM expressed
an urgent requirement for an advanced vertical lift aircraft
to be used by all the services.  The reason given for a
vertical lift aircraft was the anticipation that future
hostilities would require aircraft to be less dependent upon
     The last event was a decision by Congress.  In its
Fiscal Year 1982 Defense Appropriations Bill, Congress
cancelled funding fdr the Marine Corps' V/HXM Program.7
     Two weeks after Congress' action, then Deputy Secretary of
Defense, Frank Carlucci, issued a 30 December 1981 Decision
Memorandum that established the JVX program.  The Memorandum
specified a joint Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force
program...created to develop a common multi-mission aircraft,
and each of the services would contribute an initial $1.5
million dollars in Fiscal Year 1982 to get the JVX program in
motion; the Army was to be the executive agency; a Marine Corps
officer was to be the program manager; the request for
proposals (RFP) was to be released prior to the end of 1982;
and the aircraft should have an initial operational capability
(IOC) in the early 1990's."8
     A JVX technical assessment team was established a month
later.  It was composed of representatives from the armed
services and from the National Aeronautics and Space Admin-
istration (NASA).  The JVX team performed a three-month
tradeoff analysis of potential concepts.  These concepts were
the advancing blade concept (ABC)/compound helicopter, the
lift/cruise fan configuration, the conventional helicopter, and
the tilt-rotor configuration.9
     Meanwhile, in November 1982, the White House issued a
report on advanced technology for rotorcraft.  The report
stated that "helicopter range and speed should increase by
100 per cent, noise and vibration be reduced by 50 per cent,
life cycle costs reduced by 25 to 50 per cent, and fuel
consumption reduced by 25 per cent.  Military helicopters
should have sufficient ferry range to self-deploy worldwide"10
     On 3 April 1983, the JVX assessment team released its
preliminary findings.  It stated that a tilt-rotor configuration
couLd perform all the JVX missions and meet the self-deploy-
ment criteria.11
     The program, however, has been beset by interservice
problems.  The Navy was ordered to take charge and pay fifty
per cent in late 1982, when the Army complained of inadequate
definition of its payload for its Special Mission Electronic
Aircraft (SEMA), inadequate development of the Modern Tech-
nology Engine (MTE), and greater interest in a new family of
light helicopters (LHX) program.13  Furthermore, the Army,
tasked with paying thirty-four per cent of the cost, announced
that it no longer had a requirement for JVX.14  As a result,
the Air Force, which pays sixteen per cent, announced that it
will probably drop out of the program if the Army does.  The
Air Force cited a near-term priority of obtaining HH-60
helicopters for combat search-and-rescue and special operations.15
     If the Army and Air Force drop out of the JVX program, one
of two possibilities may occur.  The first possibility is that
the Navy/Marine Corps will be the sole service to procure its
planned 602 aircraft of the total twenty-billion dollar program
of 1086 aircraft.  This is reminiscent of the F/B-111 joint
services project.  The second possibility is that the entire
program will fail.
     JVX must satisfy many requirements before it is accepted
by all the services.  These requirements are:16
     *  Maintain a continuous cruise speed of at least 250
knots and a dash speed of 275-300 knots below 500 feet altitude.
     *  Withstand +4 to -1 instantaneous g-loading and a
capability to execute a maximum rate 1801degree level turn at
250 knots in fifteen seconds or less.
     *  Evade surface-to-air missiles and gunfire by evasive
maneuvering, jamming, and decoying.
     *  Achieve a vertical descent rate between 20,000 and
30,000 feet per minute.
     *  Defend itself with a combination of guns, air-to-
ground missiles, or air-to-air missiles.
     *  Maintain single-engine altitude of at least 15,000
feet with full internal payload; fly single-engine at cruise
speed and land at the point of intended landing with a ground
roll of 100 feet with 15 knots of wind.
     *  Execute a power-off glide or autorotation to a
survivable emergency landing.
     *  Conduct low-level, contour, and nap-of-the-earth
     In addition to the joint service needs, the Marine Corps
has the following requirements:17
     *  Fiscal Year 1991 Initial Operational Capability (IOC)-
Replaces CH-46E
        * 200 nautical mile radius with 24 troops
        * 50 nautical mile radius with 8,300-10,000 pound
external load
        * Night, marginal weather capability
        * Self-deployable
     *  LHA Shipboard Compatible
     *  Potential for OV-10 Replacement
     Although helicopters may succeed in performing many of
these requirements, tilt-rotor aircraft have the potential to
perform more.  The most important requirements are speed,
evasion, and self-deployability.
     Helicopters are currently limited to maximum forward
speeds of 170-200 knots.  This is caused by a phenomenon called
retreating blade stall, where the blades can no longer pro-
duce sufficient lift to support the craft.  A tilt-rotor
aircraft, on the other hands performs takeoffs, landings,
hovers, and low-speed flight by positioning its-propellers
upwards.  It achieves its acceleration and fast forward
flight by rotating its propellers forward to a fixed-wing
     Evasion of enemy guns and surface-to-air missiles by
maneuvering is improved by two means.  The first, discussed
above, is by speed and acceleration.  The second is lower
noise caused by lower tip speeds of the rotors.19
     Self-deployability is accomplished by longer range with
reduced fuel consumption.  Both the helicopter and tilt-rotor
have similar propulsive efficiency at airspeeds below 150 knots.
However, above this airspeed, the helicopter becomes less
efficient, due to increased drag of the rotor mechanism.
The tilt-rotor, on the other hand, increases in efficiency
and airspeed by converting its rotors to act as propellers
and flying like an airplane.20
     Tilt-rotor technology is not entirely new.  Tests began
in the 1950's with the Transcendental Model 1-G, Bell XV-3,
Boeing-Vertol VZ-2A, and Bell XV-15.
     The Transcendental Aircraft Corporation developed its
convertiplane, the Model 1, in 1951.  The modified Model 1-G
first flew in 1954.  Although mostly privately financed, the
program received Air Force contracts to investigate the
conversion problems of a convertiplane.21
     Meanwhile, in 1951, a joint Army-Air Force contract was
initiated with Bell Helicopter to develop the XV-3 experimen-
tal tilt-rotor convertiplane.  The aircraft first flew in
1955 and proved the feasibility of the tilt-rotor concept.
Further evaluation continued into the 1960's with a contract
awarded by NASA.22
     Research continued, when Boeing-Vertol was awarded a
joint Navy-Army contract in 1956 to develop the VZ-2A.  This
aircraft first flew in 1957 and further proved the tilt-rotor
concept.  NASA also participated in further evaluations.23
     The most recent tilt-rotor research aircraft is the
Bell XV-15.  This program began in 1973 as a joint Army-NASA
project.  The Navy entered the program in 1979.  This
13,000-pound aircraft first flew in 1977 and is the basis
for future derivatives for JVX.24
     Joint operational testing for the XV-15 began in 1982
and continues today.  The first mission evaluated was to
determine the detectability and survivability of the aircraft
operating against air defense threat systems.  Next, the
aircraft underwent shipboard evaluation and downwash evaluation.
Finally, tests were completed for contour flights, simulated
aerial refueling behind a KC-130, wake turbulence, and
forward firing weapons delivery patterns.  The overall success
was high.25
     Tilt-rotor JVX will have significant impact upon the
Marine Corps.  Whether or not the concept of employment
changes, JVX will provide speed, mobility, and versatility.
     If the concept of employment and currently identified
Marine Corps helicopter missions remain the same, JVX will
present an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, improve-
ment.  This will result in a substantial increase in speed,
a doubling of payload weight for the CH-46E, and a significant
increase in range and endurance over most helicopters.  The
basic mission will remain the transportation of personnel,
supplies, and equipment for the landing force during
amphibious operations and subsequent operations ashore.26
     During amphibious operations, the buildup of combat
power ahsore will be quicker.  Once ashore, ground forces
will be resupplied quicker and will be more mobile.  Units
will be able to be repositioned rapidly to influence the
conduct of the offense and defense.  Furthermore, JVX will be
more responsive, since the aircraft will have greater endurance.
     Although the aircraft is evolutionary, it is also
revolutionary.  The development of JVX will integrate with
new concepts of amphibious assault, cause changes in current
amphibious doctrine, and cause new ways to execute other
Marine Corps missions.
     The new concept of amphibious assault calls for launching
from points over the horizon, where ships would be less
vulnerable to enemy attacks.27  This new plan takes full
advantage of the capabilities now provided by the CH-53E
helicopter and the potential capabilities offered by the
Landing Craft Air-Cushioned (LCAC) and JVX.  This would allow
rapid buildup of combat forces ashore and enhance survivability
of the amphibious task force.
     The over-the-horizon concept, however, surfaces other
problems with regard to the use of UH-1N command and control
(C&C) and AH-1 attack escort helicopters.  The triple and
double airspeed of JVX over the UH-1N and AH-1, respectively,
will make the choice of these helicopters impractical to lead
an assault wave from the snip to the landing zone.  Possible
solutions are:  (1) meet the assault aircraft at a Penetration
Control Point or other suitable control point, (2) use JVX
as C&C and attack aircraft, or (3) use AV-8, A-4, or F/A-18
for escort.
     As a replacement for the OV-10 aircraft, JVX would make
this visual reconnaissance airplane completely shipboard
compatible.  This mission, along with the Forward Air
Controller (Airborne) (FAC(A)) mission, could be used during
amphibious operations out of range of current land-based
aircraft.  The tasks provided could be performed by squadrons
organized specifically for visual reconnaissance and FAC(A)
or by squadrons also committed to assault support.
     The ability to self-deploy 2100 nautical miles without
refueling has important strategic implications for the use
of JVX.  This includes the ability to self-deploy forces
worldwide, the ability to quickly reinforce units committed
to operations, and the ability to link up with prepositioned
stores in Norway and Diego Garcia.  Studies show that JVX can
fly from the east coast of the U.S. to Norway in fourteen
hours, the Persian Gulf in twenty-four hours, or to the west
coast of Africa in eighteen hours.  Furthermore, the aircraft
can fly from the west coast of the U.S. to Hawaii in ten
     Once deployed to another part of the world, JVX could
provide intra-theater mobility by assisting Marine KC-130
aircraft in assault support.  This would free more KC-130's
to perform combat aerial refueling.  Also, JVX would allow
Navy carrier-on-board delivery (COD) aircraft to be used
     Between World War II and the Korean War, the Marine
Corps revolutionized combat by developing the concept of
helicopter vertical envelopment.  At that time, the helicopter
was in its infancy.  Now that tilt-rotor technology has
surpassed this stage, the Marine Corps has another
opportunity to be in the forefront of a new concept and
fulfill a pressing requirement.  This JVX concept, a
multi-service and multi-mission tilt-rotor aircraft, will
satisfy the Marine Corps' urgent need to replace medium
assault transport helicopters for the 1990's and beyond.
     1John W. R. Taylor, ed., Jane's All the World's Aircraft,
1971-72 (New York:  McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1971), p. 263.
     2John W. R. Taylor, ed., Jane's All the World's Aircraft,
1980-81 (New York:  Jane's Publishing Incorporated, 1980),
p. 301.
	3Deborah M. Kyle, "OSD Directs Development of Joint Service
Advanced Technology Rotorcraft,"  Armed Forces Journal
International, 104 (February 1982), 20.
     4L. Kim Smith, "JVX:  A Tilt-Rotor Aircraft for the US
Services?"  Military Technology, 7 (January 1983), 40.
     5Kyle, p. 20.
     6Smith, p. 40.
     7Kyle, p. 20.
     8Smith, p. 40.
     10Mark Lambert, "The Helicopter Industry Must Change Its
Ways,"  Interavia, 39 (May 1983), 524.
     11Smith, p. 40.
     12Ramon Lopez,  "JVX Program Still a Lot of Questions,"
Interavia, 38 (April 1983), 348.
     13 Deborah M. Kyle, "Joint Service JVX Program Wins Hill
Support But May Lose Army's,"  Armed Forces Journal
International,  120 (June 1983), 16.
     14"JVX Pullout,"  Aviation Week and Space Technology,
May 30, 1983, p. 274.
     15Leonard Famiglietti, "AF Involvement in JVX Questionable,"
Air Force Times, July 25, 1983, p. 30.
     16J. Michael Hoeferlin, "Navy Seeks Industry Proposals
On Vertical Lift Aircraft Design,"  Aviation Week and Space
Technology, January 24, 1983, p. 26.
     17U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., 1983 USMC
Helicopter/OV-10 Symposium Report, 12 January 1984, p. 6-2.
     18Colonel William D. Siuru, Jr. USAF, "The Tillt-Rotor:
The Best of Both Worlds,"  U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings,
107 (September 1981), 116.
     19 Ibid, p. 117.
     20Stanley Martin, Jr., Vice President-Development
Engineering, Bell Helicopter Textron, Fort Worth, Texas,
"Tilt Rotor Technology for the 1990's,"  speech given to the
1981 American Helicopter Society.
     21Leonard Bridgman, ed., Jane's All the Worid's Aircraft,
1955-56 (New York:  McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1956), pp. 318-319.
     22John W. R. Taylor, ed., Jane's All the World's Aircraft,
1962-63 (New York:  McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1962), p. 178.
     23Ibid, p. 188.
     24Taylor, ed., Jane's 1980-81, pp. 285-286.
     25Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland,
Third Interim Report:  USN/USMC Assessments of the XV-15
Tilt Rotor Aircraft, 4 October 1983.
     26Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic,
Norfolk, Virginia, "JVX Concept of Employment" letter,
8 November 1983.
     27U.S. Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to the
Congress, Fiscal Year 1985, February 1, 1984, p. 139.
     28Hoeferlin, p. 27.
Bridgman, Leonard, ed.  Jane's All the World's Aircraft,
     1955-56. New York:  McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1955.
Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, Norfolk,
     Virginia.  "JVX Concept of Employment" letter,
     8 November 1983.
"Companies Expanding Composite Uses."  Aviation Week and
     Space Technology, January 16, 1984, pp. 137-147.
Famiglietti, Leonard.  "AF Involvement in JVX Questionable."
     Air Force Times, July, 25, 1983, p. 30.
Hoeferlin, J. Michael.  "Navy Seeks Industry Proposals On
     Vertical Lift Aircraft Design."  Aviation Week and
     Space Technology, January 24, 1983, pp. 26-27.
"Improved Testing Methods Enhancing Rotor Research."
     Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 16, 1984,
     pp. 101-105.
"JVX Pullout."  Aviation Week and Space Technology, May 30, 1983,
     p. 274.
Kyle, Deborah M.  "OSD Directs Development of Joint Service
     Advanced Technology Rotorcraft."  Armed Forces Journal
     International, 104 (February 1982), 20.
Kyle, Deborah M.  "Joint Service JVX Program Wins Hill
     Support But May Lose Army's."  Armed Forces Journal
     International, 120 (June 1983), 14-16.
Lambert, Mark.  "The Helicopter Industry Must Change Its Ways."
     Interavia, 39 (May 1983), 523-526.
Lopez, Ramon.  "JVX Program Still a Lot of Questions."
     Interavia, 38 (April 1983), 348-349.
Martin, Stanley Jr., Vice-President-Development Engineering,
     Bell Helicopter Textron, Fort Worth, Texas.  "Tilt Rotor
     Technology for the 1990's" speech given to the 1981
     American Helicopter Society.
"Military Seeking Upgraded Capabilities."  Aviation Week and
     Space Technology, January 16, 1984, pp. 84-89.
Naval Air Test Center.  Third Interim Report:  USN/USMC
     Assessment of the XV-15 Tilt Rotor Aircraft.  Patuxent
     River, Maryland, 4 October 1983.
Siuru, William D. Jr., Colonel, USAF.  "The Tilt-Rotor:
     The Best of Both Worlds."  U.S. Naval Institute
     Proceedings, 107 (September 1981), 116-119.
Smith, L. Kim.  "JVX:  A Tilt-Rotor Aircraft for the US
     Services?"  Military Technology, 7 (January 1983), 40-47.
Taylor, John W. R., ed., Jane's All the World's Aircraft,
     1962-63.  New York:  McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1962.
Taylor, John W. R., ed., Jane's All the World's Aircraft,
     1971-72.  New York:  McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1971.
Taylor, John W. R., ed., Jane's All the World's Aircraft,
     1980-81.  New York:  Jane's Publishing Incorporated, 1980.
"Tilt-Rotor Aircraft Furthers Defined."  Aviation Week and
     Space Technology, December 14, 1981, pp. 66-67.
U.S. Marine Corps.  1983 USMC Helicopter/OV-10 Symposium
     Report.  Washington, D.C., 12 January 1984.
U.S. Secretary of Defense.  Annual Report to the Congress,
     Fiscal Year 1985.  Washington, D.C.:  U.S. Government
     Printing Office, 1984.

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