The US Army has issued a request for information (RFI) for a Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) to enter service in 2030.
The RFI, released on 4 April, covers the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Boeing AH-64 Apache-replacement that was previously known as Capability (Cap) Set 3 (Assault)/Future Vertical Lift (FVL)-Medium.
As noted in the solicitation, the FLRAA performance parameters broadly mirror those of Cap Set 3 (Assault)/FVL-Medium, for which the Joint MultiRole - Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) programme has seen Bell develop the V-280 Valor tiltrotor and Boeing-Sikorsky the SB>1 Defiant co-axial compound helicopter.
While the FLRAA effort will be led by the US Army, the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the US Marine Corps (USMC) will look to follow with their own procurements approximately two years after the army. FLRAA mission sets will include utility, transport, troop insertion and exfiltration, close air support, medical evacuation, and V-22 tiltrotor escort.
Specifications laid out by the army include a hover-out-of-ground-effect (HOGE) at 6,000 ft and 95°F (the army's 6K/95 benchmark) at combat radius and with a mission payload; an unrefuelled combat radius of 170-229 n miles, with 30-minute loiter; a maximum continuous cruise speed of 230-270 kt with full payload; an internal payload of 3,500-4,000 lb; an external payload of 6,000-8,000 lb; capacity for 10-12 passengers; to self-deploy 2,100 n miles without refuelling and with a rolling take-off; interoperability for joint operations; the ability to operate for up to 30 days without external support, in-flight refuelling receiver and donor; an operational readiness-rate in excess of 90%; commonality with other FVL-family aircraft; and survivability.
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