And the Winner is — The Bell V-280 Valor
Defense News reports the winner of the Army’s “Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft” competion to find a replacement for the H-60.
With a demonstrated cruise speed of 305 knots, if it can do the SAR mission, this has real potential for the Coast Guard.
“The service wants FLRAA to be capable of traveling roughly 2,440 nautical miles (or 2,810 miles) without refueling, but also to be agile enough to maneuver troops into dangerous hot spots.”
1,725 nautical miles one way, was the threshold requirement.
Unless they add folding blades and a stowable wing like on the V-22, it really doesn’t look like it would be easily adaptable for shipboard use, but there is still another aircraft to be selected under the Future Vertical Lift program and it will be smaller. There are currently two competitors, The Bell Invictus and the Sikorsky Rader X. My money is on the Raider X compound helicopter. It also looks like it would require less modification to convert to civilian and Coast Guard use and seems to offer more improvement over existing aircraft.
I also don’t think we can assume the Sikorsky competitor for FLRAA will completely disappear.