Future Vertical Lift: Army selects FARA prototype performers

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The U.S. Army selected Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. executing under Other Transaction Authority for Prototype agreements for the design and testing of the Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft Competitive Prototypes to continue into phase two of the program. (Photo illustrations courtesy of Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.)
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The U.S. Army selected two performers executing under Other Transaction Authority for Prototype agreements for the design and testing of the Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft Competitive Prototypes to continue into phase two of the program.

The two vendors selected are Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn.

The Army requires an aircraft capable of operating in a complex airspace and degraded environments against peer and near-peer adversaries with an advanced integrated air defense system. The current aviation fleet does not possess a dedicated aircraft to conduct armed reconnaissance, light attack, and security with improved standoff and lethal and non-lethal capabilities from a platform sized to hide in radar clutter and for the urban canyons of mega cities.

“Our focus is on delivering capability for our Soldiers at the speed of relevance,” said Gen. John M. Murray, Army Futures Command commanding general. “We’re doing that here — providing opportunities for our industry partners to design, test, and build capability alongside our Soldiers to ensure that we win on a future battlefield.”

Army Futures Command along with Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology), and Army Contracting Command leverage the OTAP agreements for prototyping through collaboration with industry.

“The Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft is the Army’s number one aviation modernization priority and is integral to effectively penetrate and dis-integrate adversaries’ Integrated Air Defense Systems,” says Dr. Bruce D. Jette, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. “It will enable combatant commanders with greater tactical, operational and strategic capabilities through significantly increased speed, range, endurance, survivability and lethality.”

The FARA CP solicitation structured the program into three phases: preliminary design; detailed design, build, and test; and prototype completion assessment and evaluation for entrance into production phase.

In April 2019, five OTAP agreements for the aircraft design, build, and test of FARA were awarded for phase one. The five industry performers were AVX Aircraft Co. partnered with L3Harris, Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., The Boeing Company, Karem Aircraft, Inc. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. (Lockheed Martin). Phase one ended when the government conducted an initial design and risk review assessment with each performer and selected these two performers to continue into phase two.

Today’s decision transitions into phase two as the two performers will complete detailed design, build and test of their air vehicle solutions. This phase will end with a government flight test evaluation no later than the fall of 2023.
 
 
 

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