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Air Platforms

Update: Key US senator calls for continued Future Vertical Lift funding

24 February 2020
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Key Points

  • An influential US senator is calling for further Future Vertical Lift (FVL) funding
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth, a former Black Hawk pilot, believes that FVL aircraft align with the Pentagon’s vision of future warfare

Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a key US senator and retired US Army Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter pilot, wants the service to further invest in Future Vertical Lift (FVL), as she believes that these capabilities and technologies align with the Pentagon’s view of future warfare.

Duckworth said on 20 February that it was very clear that great power competition was moving toward the Asia-Pacific region. This battlespace, she said, would require going from island to island across distances that were far greater than what any model Black Hawk could currently travel.

A closeup of the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant's coaxial rotors at the Sikorsky flight facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, on 19 February 2020. (Jane's/Pat Host)A closeup of the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant's coaxial rotors at the Sikorsky flight facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, on 19 February 2020. (Jane's/Pat Host)

Duckworth said that the Asia Pacific would also host much smaller airbases and bases in general as the United States sought to ensure its presence in the region.

“This is very much the type of aircraft we need,” she said at the Sikorsky flight facility in West Palm Beach, Florida. “This is why I think we very much need to look at further investment in Future Vertical Lift … I am going to make sure that I am the champion for Future Vertical Lift as long as I am in the Senate.”

Senator Duckworth, US Army secretary Ryan McCarthy, Program Executive Office (PEO) for Aviation deputy program executive officer Patrick Mason, and US Army FVL cross-functional team director Brigadier-General Walter Rugen observed a trio of flight demos at the facility on 20 February. The Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant, the Sikorsky S-97 Raider, and the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA) all flew and performed various tasks.

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