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Future Vertical Lift: Industry Urges Common Cockpit

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: The military’s Future Vertical Lift initiative aims to replace a range of aging helicopters from all four services. No, wonder, then, that FVL is evolving, not into a single acquisition program, but into (at least) five different programs. With an eye on the problems such a broad effort can generate, the head of the industry group… Keep reading →

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V-280 Valor: Bell Starts Building Joint Multi-Role Prototype

Posted by Richard Whittle on


Bell graphic

Somebody’s finally doing something tangible about the future of Army aviation. Bell Helicopter subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems of Wichita, Kan., has started assembling the composite fuselage for the first prototype V-280 Valor, Bell’s new military tiltrotor. The Valor is sleeker, smaller, and, by design, more Army-friendly than the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, which was built to fit… Keep reading →

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Army Looks To Build Two Forms of Medium Future Vertical Lift

Posted by Richard Whittle on


ARLINGTON: And then there were five. There were already going to be four different aircraft in the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family, from light to medium to heavy to “ultra.” Now it’s almost certain that the medium FVL will be split into two separate versions: a smaller attack/reconnaissance aircraft and a larger troop-carrying assault craft.… Keep reading →

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It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! No, It’s Aircraft That Fly Like A Bird!

Posted by Richard Whittle on


In the 1934 film “It Happened One Night,” fictional slime ball “King” Westley shows off by floating to a landing on the lawn of his fiancée’s daddy’s estate in a newfangled autogiro – an airplane with a rotor to enable short take offs and landings. Today, two Defense Department programs are striving to meet the… Keep reading →

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Future Vertical Lift Begins Open Software Quest

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: The first Future Vertical Lift Aircraft won’t fly until the 2030s but the Army, Navy, and industry are already at work on software standards. Those include a new “model-based” approach to software architectures that will require a culture change among programmers and defense bureaucrats alike. Why take on so much so early? Because FVL will… Keep reading →

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Sikorsky Unveils S-97 Raider: Road To FVL?

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


The company that built the first workable helicopter rolled out a (potential) revolution in chopper technology yesterday: Sikorsky’s high-speed S-97 Raider. A year ago, Sikorsky made a splash at the huge Association of the US Army conference with just a life-size mock-up. Now, just in time to talk it up at AUSA 2014, they’ve built a working… Keep reading →

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FVL Helicopters: How To Avoid F-35 Snafu

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better yet to learn from other people’s. On Friday, I watched three battle-scarred acquisition experts — including the admiral who turned the F-35 around — advise a young officer from the Future Vertical Lift initiative, who was furiously taking notes. The panel’s theme: how FVL, which… Keep reading →

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Future Vertical Lift: One Program Or Many?

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


Bell graphic

WASHINGTON: What is Future Vertical Lift? There is no one answer, but rather a range of possibilities. At one extreme is a single mega-program, building four variants for the four services to replace a host of existing helicopters, a vision in some ways even more ambitious than the long-troubled tri-service Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). At the… Keep reading →

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