The US army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) helicopter will have to perform missions carried out by MH-6 Little Bird light helicopters currently in service with the army.
The Army has imagined two airframes for its FLV program- the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). It has awarded $3.9 billion worth contracts to Sikorsky, Bell, Boeing, Karem and AVX this April to develop the FARA. The FVLs are set to replace CH-47 Chinooks and UH-60 Black Hawks.
Now the companies have reportedly been asked to incorporate special forces support roles performed by the MH-6 Little Bird into their designs. The contractors expect to have a competitive fly-off with their competing designs in 2023.
"So right now, if you look at ... the attack version of FVL we are pursuing, if we could actually modify that to have that assault capability, it would drive down the costs, and we wouldn't have duplicate efforts in,” Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Brig. Gen. Allan Pepin, commander of Army Special Operations Aviation Command, said at an Association of the United States Army aviation symposium recently, Military.com reported.
“By incorporating the roles of the MH-6 into the FARA’s overall design, they won’t have to cut holes in the aircraft to fill the roles they need. The work is going to be done on the front end so ... SOCOM doesn't have to modify aircraft,” said Brig. Gen. Walter Rugen, director of the Army's Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team, according to the report.