U.K. government officials are expanding their rotorcraft research efforts to look at active blade and hydraulics controls.
The Rotor Embedded Actuator Control Technology, or React, project is a three-year effort to develop active surfaces in helicopter rotor blades and active hydraulic systems in rotor controls. It is led by AgustaWestland, which has long been involved with the British Experimental Rotor Program through its Yeovil, England-based Westland unit. These active systems continuously vary the aerodynamics of the rotors to provide optimal performance.
Full-scale laboratory validation of the technology is the goal. The project will also investigate and develop the manufacturing methods that will be needed to produce the innovative technology in volume.
Participants include the universities of Bristol, Leicester and Liverpool. The U.K. Technology Strategy Board is investing £4.4 million ($8.4 million) in the project.