The US Army has formally launched a competition to provide the Service with an advanced armed scout helicopter called the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA).

On 3 October, the Army Contracting Command-Redstone Arsenal (ACC-RSA), on behalf of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) for the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team (FVL CFT), released its formal, final solicitation of proposals for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Competitive Prototype (FARA CP).

Proposals are due to the Government by close of business on 18 December 2018.

The RFP defines a 4-phasd competitive prototyping effort that the Service plans to result in the flight demonstration of operational, experimental aircraft by November 2022.

The Army plans to award between 4-6 contracts in June 2019 and then downselect in six months to (probably) two companies/designs to perform a more detailed FARA design and risk review under separate $15 million contracts.

The Army identifies the following Schedule Milestone Objectives

Schedule Milestones Estimated Date Purpose  
Funding Instrument Awards 3Q FY19 Phase 1
System Requirements Review 1Q FY20 For information
Initial Design and Risk Review 2Q FY20 Provides basis for down-select decision
Down Selection to Two Participants 3Q FY20 Down-select decision
Final Design & Risk Review (See Appendix 2) 1Q FY21 Go/No-go decision to proceed to build/test  
Initial Preliminary Design Review / Data Submission to Support Decision to Enter Subsequent Full System Qualification and Production 3Q FY22 For information
Test Readiness Review Prior to first flight Go/No-go to begin major testing
Prototype First Flights / Flight Demos 1Q FY23
Government Flight Testing 3QFY23 – 4Q FY23  

We should learn more about industry intent during next week’s Association of the US Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Washington DC, but contenders will include Sikorsky, which has announced that its coaxial S-97 Raider will play in FARA CP and Bell, which is expected to offer some iteration of its tilt rotor V-280 Valor.