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Future Vertical Lift

Shaping the Future of Vertical Lift for the U.S. Army

This is not your grandfather’s threat environment. US adversaries have become smarter, better equipped and more capable than ever before. Yet American helicopter crews today are flying missions on updated versions of rotorcraft first designed generations ago. Services and airframe manufacturers have done an admirable job upgrading technology on helos like the UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook, but advancements can only go so far.

In 2011 the U.S. Army made fielding a new family of modern, highly capable light, medium and heavy helicopters one of its top six priorities and a cornerstone of an unprecedented modernization effort, known as Future Vertical Lift, which is now underway.  

Shaping the Future of Vertical Lift for the U.S. Army

This is not your grandfather’s threat environment. US adversaries have become smarter, better equipped and more capable than ever before. Yet American helicopter crews today are flying missions on updated versions of rotorcraft first designed generations ago. Services and airframe manufacturers have done an admirable job upgrading technology on helos like the UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook, but advancements can only go so far.

In 2011 the U.S. Army made fielding a new family of modern, highly capable light, medium and heavy helicopters one of its top six priorities and a cornerstone of an unprecedented modernization effort, known as Future Vertical Lift, which is now underway.  

What is Future Vertical Lift?

Future Vertical Lift (FVL) is an initiative to develop five helicopters suited to different strategic, tactical and operational missions, but sharing common engines, avionics and other systems to the greatest extent possible, to improve interoperability, logistics and maintenance processes, while reducing costs. The Army is leading the development process, but FVL aircraft will also be used by the other branches of the military.

The FVL program will use new technology, materials and designs to create helicopters that can fly faster and farther than any rotorcraft out there today. They’ll be more agile, maneuverable, reliable, and easier and cheaper to maintain than today’s helos. All this – and more – will enable the services to work together to counter any transregional, multi-domain and multifunctional threats U.S. warfighters face in 2030 and beyond.

Initial priorities for the FVL program include the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA),  which will provide the military with medium-lift, tactical assault and medical evacuation capabilities, and the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), which will become the preeminent attack and reconnaissance helicopter for U.S. armed forces.

Two teams, comprised of experienced and respected aerospace companies, are competing to develop the FVL family of solutions in partnership with the Army. A team led by two premier Defense Contrators: Lockheed Martin Sikorsky and Boeing, is proposing the DEFIANT X® and RAIDER X® aircraft while a Bell Helicopter is offering the V-280 Valor and 360 Invictus helicopters for the Army’s consideration. Both teams are currently test-flying demonstrator aircraft.

What is Future Vertical Lift?

Future Vertical Lift (FVL) is an initiative to develop five helicopters suited to different strategic, tactical and operational missions, but sharing common engines, avionics and other systems to the greatest extent possible, to improve interoperability, logistics and maintenance processes, while reducing costs. The Army is leading the development process, but FVL aircraft will also be used by the other branches of the military.

The FVL program will use new technology, materials and designs to create helicopters that can fly faster and farther than any rotorcraft out there today. They’ll be more agile, maneuverable, reliable, and easier and cheaper to maintain than today’s helos. All this – and more – will enable the services to work together to counter any transregional, multi-domain and multifunctional threats U.S. warfighters face in 2030 and beyond.

Initial priorities for the FVL program include the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA),  which will provide the military with medium-lift, tactical assault and medical evacuation capabilities, and the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), which will become the preeminent attack and reconnaissance helicopter for U.S. armed forces.

Two teams, comprised of experienced and respected aerospace companies, are competing to develop the FVL family of solutions in partnership with the Army. A team led by two premier Defense Contrators: Lockheed Martin Sikorsky and Boeing, is proposing the DEFIANT X® and RAIDER X® aircraft while a Bell Helicopter is offering the V-280 Valor and 360 Invictus helicopters for the Army’s consideration. Both teams are currently test-flying demonstrator aircraft.

Honeywell ready to deliver for Future Vertical Lift

Honeywell has been helping the armed forces of the U.S. and allied countries achieve their missions for decades with engines, avionics, satellite communications, mission management systems and other high-tech solutions that improve the safety and efficiency of flight while protecting warfighters on the front lines.

For example, a pair of our powerful, efficient T55 turbine engines has powered every Chinook helicopter flight since the first one in 1961 and our latest iteration, the T55-714C, will enable the CH-47 to fly farther and carry more weight under challenging conditions than ever before. The same Honeywell turboshaft engine which powers the Chinook, the T55-714A, is powering the SB>1 DEFIANT demonstrator today.

Our newest helicopter engine, the HTS7500, takes engine performance and efficiency to a whole new level. The new engine is 42% more powerful than the T55-714A engine and offers a low total weight compared to other engines in its horsepower class. That means the HTS7500 can fly farther and faster, with a higher power-to-weight ratio than comparable engines.

Honeywell can bring proven technology to the cockpit and the cabin of next-generation FVL platforms with a range of capabilities including advanced cockpit displays, navigation and guidance systems, 3D weather radar and the world’s fastest, most reliable satellite communications systems to provide the kind of connectivity armies need in the fully connected battlespace.

This new generation of vertical lift aircraft will be sustained by a condition-based maintenance (CBM) approach as advanced and innovative as the aircraft themselves. Honeywell pioneered Health and Usage Maintenance System (HUMS) technology for rotorcraft more than three decades ago and brings unparalleled capabilities will help the FVL take Army CBM to the next level. HUMS is being used on both the Defiant and Raider demonstrators today.

Honeywell CBM tools provide real-time performance diagnostic and prognostic information to drive safety, reliability and performance, while reducing maintenance cost and aircraft downtime. The company specializes in rapid low-cost software for trending, analytics and prognostics, along with intelligent data collection and knowledge management.

The next level threat environment of the 2030s and beyond will require next-level capabilities like those the Future Vertical Lift family of solutions brings to the table. Honeywell’s unique portfolio of capabilities will help the Army and the industry team it selects achieve the program’s key strategic, operational and cost objectives (consider adding “to help keep our soldier safe” or “to help bring our soldiers home”).

Honeywell ready to deliver for Future Vertical Lift

Honeywell has been helping the armed forces of the U.S. and allied countries achieve their missions for decades with engines, avionics, satellite communications, mission management systems and other high-tech solutions that improve the safety and efficiency of flight while protecting warfighters on the front lines.

For example, a pair of our powerful, efficient T55 turbine engines has powered every Chinook helicopter flight since the first one in 1961 and our latest iteration, the T55-714C, will enable the CH-47 to fly farther and carry more weight under challenging conditions than ever before. The same Honeywell turboshaft engine which powers the Chinook, the T55-714A, is powering the SB>1 DEFIANT demonstrator today.

Our newest helicopter engine, the HTS7500, takes engine performance and efficiency to a whole new level. The new engine is 42% more powerful than the T55-714A engine and offers a low total weight compared to other engines in its horsepower class. That means the HTS7500 can fly farther and faster, with a higher power-to-weight ratio than comparable engines.

Honeywell can bring proven technology to the cockpit and the cabin of next-generation FVL platforms with a range of capabilities including advanced cockpit displays, navigation and guidance systems, 3D weather radar and the world’s fastest, most reliable satellite communications systems to provide the kind of connectivity armies need in the fully connected battlespace.

This new generation of vertical lift aircraft will be sustained by a condition-based maintenance (CBM) approach as advanced and innovative as the aircraft themselves. Honeywell pioneered Health and Usage Maintenance System (HUMS) technology for rotorcraft more than three decades ago and brings unparalleled capabilities will help the FVL take Army CBM to the next level. HUMS is being used on both the Defiant and Raider demonstrators today.

Honeywell CBM tools provide real-time performance diagnostic and prognostic information to drive safety, reliability and performance, while reducing maintenance cost and aircraft downtime. The company specializes in rapid low-cost software for trending, analytics and prognostics, along with intelligent data collection and knowledge management.

The next level threat environment of the 2030s and beyond will require next-level capabilities like those the Future Vertical Lift family of solutions brings to the table. Honeywell’s unique portfolio of capabilities will help the Army and the industry team it selects achieve the program’s key strategic, operational and cost objectives (consider adding “to help keep our soldier safe” or “to help bring our soldiers home”).

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