Army is Pushing Future Vertical Lift Forward

Bell’s V-280 prototype

A recent DefenseNews post reports that the Army has issued a Request for Information (RFI) (read it here) for a Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) to be fielded by FY2030. This would be a replacement for their H-60 Blackhawks.

There are some details of what they expect.

Price: “… roughly $43 million per unit.”

“FLRAA — at a minimum — to have a 95% maximum rated power to perform a 500 feet per minute vertical rate of climb from a hover-out-of-ground effect. The helicopter should be able to fly at 6,000 feet in 95 degree heat with 12 passengers.objective requirements for the aircraft to maintain 100% maximum continuous power in a 500 feet per minute vertical climb.”

Range: Threshold 1,725 nautical miles one way without refueling. Objective 2,449.

Speed: Threshold 250 knots, objective cruise speed goal of 280 knots.

There could be a “competitive down select by FY2022.”

7 thoughts on “Army is Pushing Future Vertical Lift Forward

  1. The key thing I see is that the nacelles don’t point down to melt the flight deck.
    This a/c might be able to resupply small combatants and cutters using a smaller flight deck?

    • I think it is a more viable format for maritime sphere than land. Though I still think it is too complicated for the gains.

      • After some initial problems, the V-22 has proven pretty reliable.

        The ability to go twice as far, twice as fast is a strong incentive. Helicopters were always complicated anyway.

  2. V-22 Osprey and the CH-47 Chinook, approx same operational range, Osprey ~50% faster, Chinook ~20% more payload & larger cabin takes ~50% more troops.

    V-22 cost ~$71M vers CH-47 ~$35M. The tilt rotor Osprey is double the cost of a Chinook helicopter, what are operational benefits that Osprey can bring to the party in anyway to justify its very high price.

    Chinook made overseas sales to 24 countries, Osprey only a single order from Japan for 5, failed to sell to Israel so far even though would be funded US military aid budget.

    My view tilt rotors not worth cost premium.

    • Thanks for link – Blackhawk $15.5m vers FLRAA $43M, FLRAA 2.8x cost of a Blackhawk, both in 2018 year $

      Army have a current fleet of 2,000 Blackhawks, if Congress funded new FLRRA to same level fleet would drop to 720, max speed ~55% higher, 1.55 x 720 so equivalent to ~1,100 Blackhawks a reduction of current total troop/payload capacity of 45% (assuming an upgraded Blackhawk using the new T900’s-50% more power to replace their T700s, GE recently won contract for T900, giving same payload as a FLRRA).

      High speed is very, very expensive in helicopters / tilt rotors as in ships, Congress would need fund an additional $25B for ~580 FLRAA at $43M plus the 720 to give Army same capability as now. No doubt Army/Congress will fund a mix of both FLRAA and Blackhawk leading to lower numbers/capacity/capabilities due the very high cost of the high speed FLRAA.

      “Quantity has a quality all its own” Napoleon/Stalin.

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