Bell Textron has won the US Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition.
The American aerospace firm will receive up to $1.3 billion for production of the next-generation aircraft to replace 2,000 Black Hawk and 1,200 Apache helicopters.
The FLRAA will reportedly expand battlefield depth by extending the reach of air assault missions.
Its reach and standoff capabilities would ensure mission success at operational and strategic distances.
“I am excited to be part of this momentous day for our army,” US Army assistant acquisition secretary Doug Bush said.
“The thoughtful and disciplined execution of the FLRAA program strategy will deliver the transformational capabilities we need to support the Joint Force, strengthen deterrence and win in multi-domain operations.”
Bell Textron’s selection as the winner of the FLRAA competition is seen as a big boost to the company, as many 28 Black Hawk operators globally are likely to follow the US Army decision.
The FLRAA Competition
Initiated in 2019, the FLRAA program aims to modernize US Army capabilities to ensure victory in future warfare.
Bell Textron pitched its V-280 Valor tiltrotor, a long-range aircraft with twice the reported speed and range of existing military helicopters.
“Combining the speed and range of the turboprop with advanced agility greater than a traditional helicopter, the Bell V-280 Valor offers better flight performance and lifecycle sustainability,” the company states on its website.
“This weapon system was purpose built to revolutionize US Army overmatch in multi-domain operations.”
Apart from the Bell V-280 Valor, a collaboration of Sikorsky and Boeing offered its Defiant X rigid coaxial rotorcraft featuring design enhancements for reduced thermal signature and improved aerodynamics.
The aircraft includes a cutting-edge flight-control design that enhances survivability in high-threat air defense environments.
According to the US Army, it followed a “deliberate and disciplined” process in evaluating both proposals to ensure that it would select the right helicopter for its long-range missions.