Bell’s V-280 advanced tiltrotor and the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 coaxial compound helicopter are now the two official contenders for the U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft, or FLRAA.
The Army announced the competitive demonstration and risk reduction (CD&RR) contracts March 16, after a protracted industry-led demonstration program that launched both aircraft and gathered reams of data on their flight characteristics.
The Army’s Aviation program office, working with Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, awarded the project agreements under the Aviation and Missile Technology Consortium Other Transaction Authority (OTA), and the agreements were not announced through the Pentagon’s regular contract award process. Using OTAs allows the Army more flexibility
than the Defense Department’s traditional contracting process, but also does not require the service to publish contract amounts.
These competitively awarded OTA agreements consist of risk reduction activities that combine government research with input from industry partners to inform the future development and procurement of the FLRAA weapons system, according to a copy of the public announcement obtained by Vertical .
Under the agreements, each company will produce initial conceptual designs, requirements feasibility, and trade studies using model based systems engineering. These CD&RR agreements will extend over two years, informing the final Army requirements and the program of record planned for competition in 2022.
“These agreements are an important milestone for FLRAA,” said Patrick Mason, program executive officer for Army Aviation. “The CD&RR continues to transition technologies from the JMR-TD effort to the FLRAA weapons system design. We will be conducting analysis to refine the requirements, conceptual designs, and acquisition approach. Ultimately, this information and industry feedback are vital to understanding the performance, cost, affordability, schedule risks and trades needed to successfully execute the FLRAA program.”