Boeing, Sikorsky Team For FVL Development
By Graham Warwick
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
The Army is looking for increased speed, range, payload, hot/high performance and commonality from the FVL, says Maj. Gen. Kevin Mangum, commander of the Army's Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Ala. “Speed is absolutely important,” he says, to enable forcible entry into denied areas, support geographically distributed forces and engage time-sensitive targets, as well as improve survivability and responsiveness.
At 230 kt., the FVL-M would be almost 50% faster than the UH-60M, with more than 40% longer unrefueled range. The ability to hover at 6,000-ft. density altitude on a 95F day would allow the rotorcraft to operate in 90% of critical regions worldwide where the 4,000-ft./95F hot/high performance of today's helicopters restricts operations, he says. Magnum also argues that commonality between attack and utility rotorcraft would reduce development costs, improve logistics and deployability, simplify training and increase flexibility and interoperability.
The acceptability to the Pentagon of its two major helicopter suppliers teaming for the next major rotorcraft development program remains to be seen, as does the impact on wider industry. “There will be no impact on [Sikorsky's] existing areas of cooperation,” such as its teaming with Lockheed Martin on the Combat Rescue Helicopter and VXX presidential helicopter programs, says Mehta. As for Boeing, “the Bell partnership is as strong as ever, and focused on the V-22,” says Caret.