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US Army Wants 'Knife Fighter' Recon/Light Attack Helicopter Prototype (FARA) Flying by 2023

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posted on Jun, 25 2018 @ 09:21 PM
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The US Army released an RFI (Request for Information, for the uninitiated) for a light recon attack VTOL aircraft. The intent is to gather information about what industry can do and then draft detailed requirements, award study/baseline design work, then down select to two competitors and have them do a fly off. The prototypes are meant to fly by 2023.

It is generally passed off that this is to replace the now retired Kiowa and fill a niche very similar to the cancelled Comanche. The information released makes it sound very much like they want a recapitulation of the Comanche, though, perhaps not with with the stealth aspect. There are four specifications that might not be the same though: this sucker is intended to do some VERY aggressive EW/EA. See a radar; spoof the radar; and even kill the radar. Potentially nonkinetically. Secondly, technically, the Army has not stated it is a helicopter, supposedly to allow for as broad a potential designs, but vertical flight and hover seem to be pretty strongly implied. That would mean Tilt rotor or helicopter to me, but I suppose someone could propose an autogyro or something else. Also, despite being billed as a Kiowa replacement, the numbers being talked about may actually be pretty small and used in a more roving, deep strike sort of mission that would be discounted from the ground troops. Finally, the aircraft is to be optionally manned at this point.

I have to admit, I have some concerns. First off, a more meta concern, as this is the US Army, and while that is my family's traditional service, they have a serious record of fscking up their acquisitions as of late. Mission creep is a major problem for them. Secondly, this seems awfully ambitious out the door in some ways: this sounds almost exactly like the Comanche, but with the optionally manned and EW/EA mission tossed in. Kitchn sink, actually ALL the kitchen sinks, seem to be thrown into this aircraft. Finally, the proposed role, where the aircraft is not part of the ground maneuver units concerns me: recon ought to be available for the ground troops, yes? Finally, what does this do to the Future Vertical Lift? Does it kill that effort? The light aircraft was supposed to be part of that, too. And now?

Assuming this goes forward, then I'd say this looks a lot like its been tailored for the Sikorsky Raider or perhaps some derivative thereof. It's flown and it could handle most of mission with additional electronics. However...if stealth makes a comeback, then I would be concerned about the pusher prop. OTOH, I am baffled how you'd do a stealth tilt rotor.

What do you folks think?

Links:

www.defensenews.com...
breakingdefense.com...
www.thedrive.com...
edit on 25-6-2018 by anzha because: edited a finally into an also




posted on Jun, 25 2018 @ 09:41 PM
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I think they’re definently biting off more than they can chew. Look no further than the Osprey issues and the Corps is generally much better in acquiring weapons systems. So yeah I see it going the way the way of the Comanche, I still think dropping the Kiowa Warriors was a terrible idea. Both the Apache and AH1-z are plenty capable. Personally think they should go for a newer utility VTOL chopper with an add on attack package.
edit on 6/25/2018 by BigDave-AR because: (no reason given)

As far as a stealth VTOL helo I would think ducted fans might be a solution. It wouldn’t be all aspect stealth but better than exposed rotors.
edit on 6/25/2018 by BigDave-AR because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2018 @ 09:46 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I have seen the FVL systems before, I personally think they would be a great advancement for the military.



posted on Jun, 25 2018 @ 09:54 PM
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a reply to: BigDave-AR

The Marines have had their own issues, too. The AAV-7 replacement? The EFV? etc.

My concern is more that the Army seems to be looking for a specOps sort of bird rather than a scout. And they are adding too much too fast. Sure, those are great things to have, but get your core role in first and then add the other stuff in the B model, not the initial A. The EW/EA role worries me in that sense. It's more than needed, but...



posted on Jun, 25 2018 @ 10:06 PM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: BigDave-AR

The Marines have had their own issues, too. The AAV-7 replacement? The EFV? etc.

My concern is more that the Army seems to be looking for a specOps sort of bird rather than a scout. And they are adding too much too fast. Sure, those are great things to have, but get your core role in first and then add the other stuff in the B model, not the initial A. The EW/EA role worries me in that sense. It's more than needed, but...

Oh trust me I haven’t forgotten the EFV debacle, I’m speaking in general terms there have been missteps another one being the Growler air transportable vehicle was a mess as well and IMO they backed the wrong horse on that one.
As far as the Army the cocked up their cammies for cripes sake! UCP was a very expensive joke.
edit on 6/25/2018 by BigDave-AR because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2018 @ 11:17 PM
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I always thought the Comanche, was going to replace the apache, but it just kinda disappeared. Maybe they should rethink it, maybe a multi role, kinda like the huey. The army does need a new type of multi role aircraft



posted on Jun, 25 2018 @ 11:34 PM
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a reply to: jonnyhallows5211

The Comanche was never going to replace the Apache. The Comanche was going to replace the Kiowa, but be stealthy and pack more punch. However, it suffered from mission creep and chronic bad project management. Then finally was axed under Rumsfeld.

It had the unfortunate timing of being a procurement at the end of the Cold War, which caused a long, drawn out mess. The F-22 survived it. The RAH-66 did not. Nor did the Crusader artillery.



posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 07:28 PM
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posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 07:29 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Oh god that's funny.



posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 07:30 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

The Nth time is the charm???



posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 07:33 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Maybe I missed it but what sort of numbers are they talking about?
Would not a an MQ-8C fill much of this role and be ready years before this anyway? Once Army jumped onboard testing and move to IOC could be achieved sooner than 2023.



posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 07:34 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I like their timeline. Program of Record in five years? Army? Yeah right.



posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 07:34 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

Doesn't meet what they're wanting.



posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 07:39 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

It doesnt meet ALL that they are wanting. In any case they NEED something now. An MQ-8 cant carry 6 passengers but it will give them a decent sensor suite as well as Hellfire and APKWS and up to 15hrs endurance in a small package. I think they need something today not post "somewhere 2024". The other nice to have requirements can be met down the road. It feels like they are back to making the same mistakes as they did with Comanche, throw every conceivable new technology and mission you can think of then watch it fail.



posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 07:41 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Flipside, what does this do the the FVL?

Seems classic army though! How can we shoot ourselves in the balls?!



posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 07:47 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

It doesn't have, and can't mount an EW capability either. The MQ-8 would be a good idea if they were after a straight armed scout, but they're not. Whatever they go with is almost certainly going to end up with the 160th as well in some role. So it has to be able to meet their needs too.



posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 07:51 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Shoves it back pretty hard. Unless they're willing to spend big, on two large, simultaneous programs they have to give somewhere. And they've said repeatedly in recent months that their priority is a scout.



posted on Jun, 26 2018 @ 08:09 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Of course they are going to fsck themselves: they have at least one vendor doing a great job.

They need both. Badly. Honestly. But the Blackhawk is not going to be terribly helpful in the Pacific.



posted on Jul, 2 2018 @ 11:03 AM
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Longer flight video on vimeo:

vimeo.com...

aviationweek.com...



posted on Jul, 2 2018 @ 11:32 AM
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They could start with a modified K-Max helo.



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