What future Army aircraft could look like

Army research teams are collaborating with each other and industry on the next generation of vertical-lift aircraft.

Future Vertical Lift concept Army

An artist’s concept of a future Army vertical lift rotorcraft.


Army researchers are working on the next generation of military vertical-lift aircraft with an effort that involves the collaboration of the service’s research centers and laboratories, design and manufacturing work from industry, and support from NASA and the Navy.

The idea is to draw on the expertise from around the Army’s science and technology community to build a new fleet of aircraft that can take off, hover and land like a helicopter, fly like a plane, and be used by joint forces.

"The one thing that we've not done in quite a long time was demonstrate that we can build an aircraft from scratch that incorporates the individual technologies that we've been working on the past 25 years," Ned Chase, deputy program director of S&T for the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator/Future Vertical Lift, said in a release. "We have the capacity across AMRDEC to populate the aircraft with the right components--engines, rotors, structures, flight controls.

Future Vertical Lift concept Bell Helicopter

Bell Helicopter's design for the tiltrotor V-280 Valor aircraft.


AMRDEC is the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, one of seven centers and labs that make up the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command. While AMRDEC, where Chase works, will focus on aviation, scientists at other centers will contribute their expertise. The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, for example, can perform work in communications systems, sensors and cameras.

The Future Vertical Life, or FVL, program is expected to culminate in two main demonstrations. One, the Air Vehicle Demonstration, will be carried out with two contractor teams, Sikorsky/Boeing and Bell Helicopter, which will handle the design, analysis, fabrication, ground testing and flight testing of the demonstrator aircraft.

The aircraft, according to industry proposals, will be able to carry and crew of four plus 12 troops, hover at up to 6,000 feet (at 95 degrees Fahrenheit) and travel at a speed of at least 230 knots for 2,100 nautical miles. The first flight testing is expected in summer 2017, with a prototype expected between 2022 and 2024.

Future Vertical Lift concept Sikorsky Boeing

Sikorsky and Boeing are working on a demonstrator called the SB-1 Defiant.


The other demonstration, the Mission Systems Architecture Demonstration, intends to integrate technologies from across the Army’s research centers into a standard reference architecture that will serve as the foundation for an avionics architecture for a joint fleet, which researchers noted would save money over developing separate aircraft for each service.  

Although many of the technologies exist, they need to be honed to perform in what researchers said will be a tougher environment than those technologies operate in now. "This future fleet will be faster and go farther,” Chase said. “We're trying to ensure that the other [research centers] understand how the aviation environment and constraints change when we go from flying aircraft at 130 knots to 250 knots.  The environment we're creating for weapons, sensors and radios is much different with FVL than the current fleet. FVL will operate in a different performance regime."

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency also is working on similar technology—for both manned and unmanned aircraft—with itsVTOL Experimental Plane project. Both Boeing and Sikorsky, along with two other companies, are also involved in that project.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.