Future Vertical Lift (FVL) is a plan to develop a family of military helicopters for the United States Armed Forces. Five different sizes of aircraft are to be developed, sharing common hardware such as sensors, avionics, engines, and countermeasures. The U.S. Army has been considering the program since 2004. FVL is meant to develop replacements for the Army's UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache, CH-47 Chinook, and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters. The precursor for FVL is the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) helicopter program.
Three sizes were planned in 2009, then four and five (which may or may not be of the same design) are envisioned to replace 25 current rotorcraft types:
According to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, three different configurations of JMR aircraft – a conventional helicopter, a large-wing slowed rotor compound helicopter, and a tiltrotor – were being studied as of April 2013.
- JMR-Light: Scout helicopter to replace the OH-58 Kiowa; introduction planned for 2030. Implemented as the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program in 2018.
- JMR-Medium: Utility version to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk; introduction planned for 2030. Bell V-280 Valor won the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program in 2022.
- JMR-Heavy: Cargo version to replace the CH-47 Chinook; introduction planned for 2035, although Boeing expects 2060.
- JMR-Ultra: New ultra-sized version for vertical lift aircraft with performance similar to fixed-wing tactical transport aircraft, such as the C-130J Super Hercules and the Airbus A400M Atlas; introduction planned for 2025.
The Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program was initiated by the United States Army in 2019 to develop a successor to the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter as part of the Future Vertical Lift program. The UH-60, developed in the early 1970s, has been in service since June 1979. Like the UH-60, FLRAA variants would also serve United States Special Operations Command and the United States Marine Corps. Under the existing Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program, the Army has been gathering data from flying prototype designs that could fill the FLRAA role.
The Army posted a request for information (RFI) in April 2019, which was intended to identify interested manufacturers. According to the RFI, the Army plans to bring the FLRAA into service in 2030, in anticipation of retiring the UH-60 after a 50-year life.
On December 5, 2022, the Army selected the Bell Textron V-280 Valor powered by Rolls-Royce engines for the FLRAA contract award. 
Sikorsky and Boeing state the design is to have a cruise speed of 250 kn (460 km/h), but less range due to using the "old" T55 engine. A new engine, the Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE), is to meet the radius requirement of 229 nmi (424 km).
- Cruise speed: 320 mph (520 km/h, 280 kn)
- Combat range: 580–920 mi (930–1,480 km, 500–800 nmi)
- Ferry range: 2,400 mi (3,900 km, 2,100 nmi)
You probably aren’t wrong.
I'm not sure that I am following.
We have the Future Vertical Lift Program
Back in 2009 somebody figured it would be worthwhile taking a look at recapitalizing the Vertical Lift Fleet. Included in that was finding a new Utility Helicopter - something like the Black Hawk.
Now to this civvy the Black Hawk doesn't appear to be a Long Range aircraft of any sort (591 to 2221 km with stub wings and extra tanks).
The Defiant seems to be a Black Hawk replacement
But is it a Long Range Assault Aircraft?
It appears to me that in 2019 two different requirements were stuffed into one project. There is a need for a local run about but there is also a need for a runway independent aircraft capable of moving troops over long distances - such as those encountered by the Special Forces, the USMC and the US Army will encounter in the Indo-Pacific. And which could come in very handy for a small army that occasionally has to cover large distances in its own back yard.
Is a "Future Possible", assuming a LocMart or Congressional win, a splitting of the project?You probably aren’t wrong.
However the PSpec for FLRAA was altered before RFP release.
The Army however appears to have valued the Bell bid on some criteria from the Draft.
Sik/Boeing have argued that IF the Army wanted the criteria in the original Draft then they shouldn’t have changed it - as they wound have offered a different platform.
Boeing is well versed in Tilt Rotor from the Osprey, so had the Army articulated their desires correctly, it’s likely that LocMart would have gone in that direction as opposed to the Defiant style, and they made that point in the protest.
I’d argue to split some of the program as I outlined above.Is a "Future Possible", assuming a LocMart or Congressional win, a splitting of the project?
It might make more sense than the splitting of the LCS.
Why was the Draft spec changed?
IMHO the Army jumped at the idea of a faster, longer range bird, that they originally had been told would be close to the price of a Blackhawk based on Bell early marketing prior to the Valor taking flight (the early Valor engine pylons moved like the Osprey, and I’m sure the redesigns cost a bunch and added some new complexities to reduce the issues found with the Osprey tilt nacelle)Cant help but wonder if Army is carrying the can for a Joint project.
It really feels as if the LRAA requirement was driven by SOCOM and the USMC, possibly with a light/long range faction of the Army.
Traditional army would probably have been happy with recapitalizing the existing CABs.
Edit FLRAA resonates with Operation Eagle Claw.
At least the black Hooks have some life to them still, as opposed to the USAF that put all the eggs into the CV-22B basket for CSAR, when it pulled the plug on the HH-47 CSAR-X. I definitely don’t hear much cheering for the V-22 from the JSOC world.The Hook replacement program part of FVL resonates there, and a lot more USASOC/JSOC interest will be there.
That program is a ways out.At least the black Hooks have some life to them still, as opposed to the USAF that put all the eggs into the CV-22B basket for CSAR, when it pulled the plug on the HH-47 CSAR-X. I definitely don’t hear much cheering for the V-22 from the JSOC world.
Kevin I know you're Lockheed guy (or your wife is) but I do think the Bell win is better for the industrial military business. It keeps Bell in the game as a platform supplier. The US is short platform suppliers and major system developers. A mistake was made when the DoD made all the defence contractors merge. A loss on this program doesn't throw Lockheed out if the helicopter game at all. Boeing will be another case but they really not as big in the helicopter game with just Chinook, Apache and some Osprey. With just three American OEM helicopter players now. American Airbus is coming on strong but a hone grown product. MD helicopters is just one old product.That program is a ways out.
Good thing block II became a thing…
My wife and I don’t really talk about this - as anything I’m interested in is protected info.Kevin I know you're Lockheed guy (or your wife is) but I do think the Bell win is better for the industrial military business. It keeps Bell in the game as a platform supplier. The US is short platform suppliers and major system developers.
DoD didn’t do that, companies did that, and the USG didn’t do a lot of anti-trust homework.A mistake was made when the DoD made all the defence contractors merge.
How do you figure that?A loss on this program doesn't throw Lockheed out if the helicopter game at all.
Boeing in Rotary is really just the Hook these days, while the Apache and MH-6 line are still open, their days are numbered mainly as FARA will replace them. Boeing is trying to market an upgraded Apache to stay online with FARA, but that remains to be seen.Boeing will be another case but they really not as big in the helicopter game with just Chinook, Apache and some Osprey.
MD hasn’t been a real Mil bird provider for a while, the base bird of the AH/MH-6J is the MD-530J but engine, avionics, and more is done by Boeing as the prime.With just three American OEM helicopter players now. American Airbus is coming on strong but a hone grown product. MD helicopters is just one old product.
I actually know someone who was at the dinner and the article is not 100% accurate.This was the event I was referring to about the mergers. Old piece but you get the story. It was called the supper. And it created this mega defence contractors. And I would say it was an error.
I have been having these type of conversations alot lately. Everything from kids hockey, we need just one AAA team not two to big tech to auto suppliers.
As I have grown older I have come to the think bigger is not better. (LOL don't go there) these companies are to big to make fast decisions or response to changes or allow creative ideas to flow. In the past I thought is not problem new companies coming around will eat there lunch. But the problem is big companies can hire big lobbyists to work big government. You see it in tech how they are work hard to have government help lock in there markets. Etc.
One more thing I would say the break up of AT&T lead to one of the great periods of innovation. With out the break up we would not have seen the cell phone be what, the cost of calling to almost zero, the internet would also be very different. All those new companies create made an explosive change in telecom and tech industries
What could it do if you blew up the military industrial complex companies. Would also need procurement change too. I doubt you have a case of 7 billion dollar ship that its bullets are too expensive to manufacture.
Japan doing something different
A Japanese document showed graphical representations of what appears to be loitering munitions and medium-altitude, long-endurance drones as replacements.www.defensenews.com
The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force operates Boeing CH-47 Chinook, Fuji UH-1 and Sikorsky UH-60 helicopters. Japan is introducing the Subaru UH-2 utility helo to replace its UH-1s, with plans to procure 77 between now and 2027. The UH-2 is based on the Bell 412EPI design.
We do, but the Japanese version has some significant upgrades, including an 11% increase in torque. It's not clear if our Griffons could be upgraded to this same standard.Don't we have a Bell 412EPI variant in service already?
You take the data plate off of our Griffons and build a new helicopter around it, but it's just an "upgrade". Many of the Beaver floatplanes are basically new aircraft attached to an old data plate.We do, but the Japanese version has some significant upgrades, including an 11% increase in torque. It's not clear if our Griffons could be upgraded to this same standard.
The 412EPX is the latest iteration of the storied 412 product line, created through a collaboration between Bell and Subaru. We got behind the controls to find out what’s new.verticalmag.com
The Beavers have a few old rivets left. funny I worked on a couple that had the original bullet hole repair patches from the Vietnam war. It was kind of neat to be WTH and then read the logs for the aircraft. At the time I thought the holes were for a removed antenna set up. Nope shot through and through, skin pounded flat, patch riveted over top. It was kind of neat to see.You take the data plate off of our Griffons and build a new helicopter around it, but it's just an "upgrade". Many of the Beaver floatplanes are basically new aircraft attached to an old data plate.