Boeing revealed its entry into the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Helicopter prototype competition which is intended to replace the now-retired Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.
The thrust compounded single-main rotor helicopter boasts a six-bladed rotor system, a single engine, tandem seating and a modular, state-of-the-art cockpit with a reconfigurable large area display and autonomous capabilities. The rotorcraft also features fly-by-wire design, Boeing said in a statement Tuesday.
FARA is part of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative, a program to put a new generation of helicopters into service by 2030. The other key part of the FVL is the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), designed to primarily replace the aging UH-60 Black Hawk, built by Sikorsky, and AH-64 Apache, built by Boeing. The Army awarded $3.9 billion worth contracts to five firms (Bell, Boeing, Karem, Lockheed-owned Sikorsky, and a partnership of AVX and L-3) last April, to develop the FARA. The contractors expect to have a competitive fly-off with their competing designs in 2023.
In September 2019, the companies were reportedly asked to incorporate special forces support roles performed by the MH-6 Little Bird into their designs.
Bell Textron and Lockheed Martin proposed “Bell 360 Invictus” and "Raider X" as their official entrants for the contest in October.