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IMH 2023: NATO outlines five-phased concept study for NGRC

The Airbus RACER is a concept for high-speed rotorcraft flight, which may be leveraged for the NGRC effort. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

NATO has outlined the concept study for its Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) programme, which will run across five phases that were commenced in 2022.

Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter (IMH) 2023 conference being held in London from 21 to 23 February, NGRC programme manager, NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), Cyril Heckel, provided an overview of the concept phase for the NGRC programme that comprises the European NATO allies of France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK. Canada is set to join in the near future.

The baseline requirements for the NGRC programme are that the resulting airframe be no more than EUR35 million (USD37 million) per unit, with a cost per flight hour of between EUR5,000 and EUR10,000, and a more than 75% availability rate. Heckel said, these parameters, all much be achieved with the minimum of different aircraft configuration to reduce complexity and cost in the programme.

Heckel spelled out the five-point concept phase that was launched in June 2022, and which will run over three years.

The first study is on novel powerplant solutions, and this is to be opened to the market later in 2023. It will deal with range, speed, endurance, durability, support, and costs.

The second study, which is not open to the market, studied the future concept of operations through simulation.

The third study, which is open to the market, covers open systems architecture. It will establish architecture doctrine and standards, as well as optimisation of upgrades in cost-effective manner.

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