Dan Bailey, a program director at the U.S. Army, said the branch could announce finalists for its vertical-lift helicopter development program within a month, the Army News Service reported July 1.
Dave Vergun writes that Bailey joined contractor representatives at a Center for Strategic & International Studies-hosted panel discussion about the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program.
AVX Aircraft, Bell Helicopter, a Boeing–Sikorsky alliance and Karem Aircraft are competing to build the service’s next-generation rotocraft.
“We’re at the critical point in our schedule where we’d love to take all four to flight test, but the financial situation will not allow us to do that, so we’ll need to make a de-scope decision within the next 30 days or so,” Bailey told forum audience.
“We’ll de-scope to something less than all four for full flight test, but that should not represent that any of the four vendors have an un-viable design, configuration or opportunity for the future,” he added, according to the ARNEWS.
Bailey also said that military organizations will have access to research data from the four vendors through 2019 under a technology investment agreement, ARNEWS reports.
Vergun writes the Army wants a vertical-lift helicopter that could self-deploy at a range of up to 2,100 nautical miles and could operate autonomously, according to Vergun’s article.
The service plans to conduct flight tests under the program in late 2017.