Future Vertical Lift (FVL) is a program to develop a family of helicopters for the United States Armed Forces. Four different sizes of aircraft are to be developed. They are to share common hardware such as sensors, avionics, engines, and countermeasures. FVL is meant to develop a replacement for the Army's UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache, CH-47 Chinook, and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters. The precursor for FVL is the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) helicopter program, which will provide technology demonstrations planned for 2017. The Army plans to acquire as many as 4,000 aircraft from the FVL program.
The U.S. Navy is a partner to the Army on the effort, so a derivative of FVL may be used in the Navy's MH-XX program to replace the service's MH-60S/R helicopters.
The Army wants to reinvent the very idea of rotorcraft, with a new propulsion concept. After the flight tests and technology development, JMR will end and a Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued open to all companies to begin the projected $100 billion FVL effort. Demonstrators developed under JMR will be "X-planes" to demonstrate some key technologies, but they won't have production-representative engines or real mission systems architecture; JMR will show off technologies to enable Army rotary-wing aviation to make the next leap in speed, lift, protection, and interoperability under FVL for the 2030s. The program is intentionally slow paced to avoid past program failures.
Although requirements are still being refined, the notional concept for a new aircraft must reach speeds of 230 kn (260 mph; 430 km/h), carry up to 12 troops, operate in "high-hot" conditions at altitudes of 6,000 ft (1,800 m) and temperatures of 95-degrees Fahrenheit, and have a combat radius of 424 km (263 mi) with an overall unrefueled range of 848 km (527 mi).
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