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AAAA 2019: L3 Technologies, AVX team for US Army FARA-CP offering

17 April 2019
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Key Points

  • L3 Technologies and AVX Aircraft are offering a compound coaxial helicopter with wings and ducted fans for a key US Army solicitation
  • The army is expected to announce a downselect in a few weeks

L3 Technologies and AVX Aircraft are teaming for the first time to offer a compound coaxial helicopter for phase 1 of the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft-Competitive Prototype (FARA-CP) programme.

The aircraft features a single-engine design, a wing at the top of the airframe for lift during high speed forward flight, and a fly-by-wire, side-by-side cockpit. It also has two ducted fans that provide forward and reverse thrust for high-speed operation and agility.

Artist’s illustration of the AVX Aircraft-L3 Technologies offering for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft-Competitive Prototype (FARA-CP) programme on display at the 2019 AAAA Summit. (IHS Markit/Pat Host)Artist’s illustration of the AVX Aircraft-L3 Technologies offering for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft-Competitive Prototype (FARA-CP) programme on display at the 2019 AAAA Summit. (IHS Markit/Pat Host)

Luke Savoie, L3 Technologies surveillance and strike systems president, told Jane’s on 16 April that AVX contributed the aircraft’s core design, including the gear box rotor hub assembly and the ducted fans. L3, he said, is bringing supply chain expertise and systems experience to the project.

Savoie said the ducted fans provide better efficiency, maintainability, and aircraft performance while being beneficial in urban environments. The side-by-side cockpit, he said, provides the option of a cabin. He said the team incorporated some options not specified by the US Army, but for US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), such as being able to carry troops.

The army has an aggressive schedule for FARA-CP as it wants first flight from a clean sheet design in 42 months. Savoie believes L3-AVX is positioned to meet this goal as it was jointly involved with mission system development and flight tests with Textron’s Scorpion intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft.

“We did clean sheet design and first flight in much shorter time periods with [Scorpion] and incorporated a lot of those lessons learned,” Savoie said at the 2019 Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) Summit.

The L3-AVX offering will have modular open systems architecture-based digital backbone and avionics systems and a small form factor.

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