The capability demonstrated by the Boeing AH-64E attack helicopter teamed with the General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft “is why we need to continue manned armed recce,” he says, adding “It’s powerful stuff.”
Plans to begin replacing the Army’s Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks after 2030 with the Future Vertical Lift Medium (FVL-M) advanced rotorcraft are also under review by senior leadership, Crosby says.
Mangum says the aviation branch is looking for increased speed, range, payload and hot/high performance from the FVL.
“Speed is absolutely important,” he says, to enable forced entry, support distributed forces and engage time-sensitive targets.
At 230 kt., the FVL-M would be almost 50% faster than the UH-60M, with more than 40% longer unrefueled range. The FVL-M would carry fewer troops, but with a design gross weight of around 30,000 lb. would be heavier than the UH-60M.
The Army wants the new-design rotorcraft to carry a nine-person squad and four crew. There is also a requirement to lift a 9,000-lb. M-777 gun. “We won’t sling-carry very far with the FVL-M, as that drives the design,” Mangum says.