VIDEO: Progress continues with FVL
The US Army initiated the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) programme in 2018 to develop a replacement for its attack and scout helicopters as part of the broader Future Vertical Lift (FVL) effort.
In April 2019, Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft-Competitive Prototype (FARA-CP) programme contracts were awarded to five contractors including Bell, Boeing, Karem, Sikorsky and L3 with partner AVX.
In March 2020, Bell and Sikorsky were downselected for the FARA final design and build phase. Associated flight testing on the programme is due to take place throughout 2023, according to the US Army.
The winner of the two is expected to start low-rate production by 2028.
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Another element of the FVL programme is the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), envisaged as a replacement for the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
An RfI issued in in 2019 stated that a decision on who will supply the capability will be made in Q4 2021. The first flight will be at the start of 2024 with critical design review by the end of 2024.
Assuming the schedule is met, this would suggest an LRIP production contract could be awarded as early as 2025. The US Army has stated it would like the first FLRAA-equipped units to be in place by 2030.
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