Showing: 1 - 1 of 1 RESULTS

US Army firms up requirements for future long-Range assault aircraft ahead of competition

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program passed through the Army Requirements Oversight Council’s gauntlet and received preliminary approval of its abbreviated capabilities development document, bringing the aircraft a step closer to a competitive procurement, according to the head of the service’s future vertical lift efforts.

The service is on a tight timeline to field a brand-new, long-range assault aircraft by 2030.

“The AROC went well,” Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen told Defense News in an Oct. 6 interview. “The aviation enterprise continues to impress me, just our ability to drive on these tough administrative and requirements tasks and get them done on time and do what we said we were going to do.”

At the time of the interview, not all of the paperwork was signed and the ink wasn’t dry. However, Rugen said, “it was probably one of the best AROCs I have attended in my career.”

He was hesitant to go into too much detail regarding the contents of the draft request for proposals — expected before the end of the year — but said: “We really are focused on our air assault mission configuration” and what that means for the number of troops that would need to be aboard and what requirements are needed to conduct that mission in darkness. Otherwise, the FLRAA program won’t have “a ton of mandatory attributes” in order to “leave a lot of space for innovation as long as we achieve that air assault mission configuration.”

The Army envisions FLRAA as less of an aircraft for the aerial movement of troops and more for complementing the air assault mission, according to Rugen.

While the Army wants a squad and enablers in the back of the aircraft, “when you think about an air assault mission, it’s far more integrated,” he said..

“And when it comes to joint, when it comes to fires, when it comes to the tactical objective, the air movement — which is a bit more administrative in nature and not as intense on the combat scale — when we talk about air assault, we want transformational reach,” he added, “that ability to exploit any penetration and disintegration that the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft ecosystem, along with our joint partners has created.”

The Army wants the speed, range and endurance at range, which “we’ve really honed in over a year on the trades with that,” Rugen said.

“We are bounded also by what is achievable and affordable, and those inputs have come in and, again, really pleased with that balance between what we do on the requirements side and what the [program executive office] is doing in the competitive demonstration and risk-reduction phase on their side of the house to really get after those technologies.”

The Army has spent the good part of the last decade using a technology demonstration program to inform its requirements for FLRAA. Bell and a Sikorsky-Boeing team have each designed, built and flown technology demonstrators and are now both part of