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12:44 PM, June 27, 2018
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US Army Reconnaissance plane (Image for reference only :SOFREP)

The US Army Futures Command has issued a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the purpose of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Competitive Prototype (FARA CP).

According to the draft document released on 22 June this year, the US Army currently lacks the ability to conduct armed reconnaissance, light attack, and security with improved stand-off and lethal and non-lethal capabilities with a platform sized to hide in RADAR clutter and for the urban canyons of mega cities.

“To close this gap, the Army envisions an optionally manned, next generation rotorcraft with attributes of reduced cognitive workload, increased operational tempo (OPTEMPO) through ultra-reliable designs and extended maintenance free periods, and advanced teaming and autonomous capabilities,” the document stated.

The Army aims to team the FARA with unmanned systems and various air launched effects with this platform as the center piece of the integrated air defense system (IADS) breaching team to provide freedom of maneuver in a multi-domain battle.

The document termed the platform as the ‘knife fighter’ of future army aviation capabilities, a small form factor platform with maximized performance. Critical to this envisioned platform is a resilient digital backbone designed to allow rapid capability advancement in subsystems and software and affordable life cycle management. This purpose built aircraft will be fielded at echelons above division but other variants could be fielded across all aviation formations.

This solicitation describes the intent to develop necessary and sufficient data to transition from a CP to Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD).

The data development will occur through the design and build of competitive prototype air vehicles that address key attributes and requirements. In addition to data developed for the CP aircraft, there is also intent to develop additional data to accelerate transition to a post-CP program. It is anticipated that an Other Transaction Authority for Prototype (OTAP) will be used to establish the partnerships between FYs19-23.

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