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Update: US Army selects Sikorsky-Boeing, Bell for FLRAA risk reduction

19 March 2020
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Key Points

  • The US Army has awarded Sikorsky-Boeing and Bell contracts for further development of their FLRAA aircraft
  • AVX Aircraft will also continue work on its FLRAA offering with its own funding

The US Army has awarded Sikorsky-Boeing and Bell other transaction authority (OTA) awards for the service's Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competitive development and risk-reduction (CD&RR) phase.

Sikorsky-Boeing was awarded USD97 million for its SB>1 Defiant coaxial helicopter while Bell was awarded USD84 million for its V-280 Valor tiltrotor. These deals, which cover both phases 1 and 2, will combine government research with input from industry partners to inform the future development and procurement of the FLRAA weapon system. Colonel David Phillips, FLRAA project manager, told reporters on 17 March that the different amounts awarded to the two competitors reflect different technical approaches.

The deliverables include initial conceptual designs, requirements feasibility, and trade studies using model-based systems engineering. These CD&RR agreements extend over two years, informing the final US Army requirements and the programme of record planned for competition in fiscal year (FY) 2022.

AVX Aircraft also bid for these contracts. Company spokesman Mike Cox told Jane's on 17 March that despite not being selected for these OTA awards, AVX intends to continue developing its FLRAA offering with its own money. The company's aircraft will feature a coaxial dual-ducted fan design that will also have a rear ramp, fast rope hardpoints, and a highly flexible mission cargo or troop compartment, a design that Cox said is the most cost effective in acquisition and life-cycle costs.

While AVX Aircraft was not previously chosen to develop a demonstrator as part of the legacy Joint Multirole-Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) programme, the US Army had given it smaller contracts to refine and mature its offering.

Kaman Aircraft also bid for these CD&RR contracts.

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB%3E1 Defiant, selected for FLRAA CD&RR, is expected to reach speeds of 250 kt in upcoming flight demonstrations. (Jane's/Pat Host)The Sikorsky-Boeing SB%3E1 Defiant, selected for FLRAA CD&RR, is expected to reach speeds of 250 kt in upcoming flight demonstrations. (Jane's/Pat Host)

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