According to a just-published draft solicitation on the so-called Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Competitive Prototype (FARA CP), the U.S. Army wants to have two new competing “knife-fighter” recon/attack helicopters designed, built, and tested within five years.

After leaving industry guessing for several years about what the Service might want in its “Capability Set 1” aircraft, and even which Capability Set (1 or 3) comes first, the 22 June solicitation notes that:

“The Army envisions an optionally-manned, next generation rotorcraft with attributes of reduced cognitive workload, increased operational tempo (OPTEMPO) through ultra-reliable designs and extended maintenance free periods, and advanced teaming and autonomous capabilities. Teamed with unmanned systems and various air launched effects, this platform will be the center piece of the integrated air defense system (IADS) breeching team to provide freedom of maneuver in a multi-domain battle.”

And the Army intends for the FARA CP program to move out very quickly.

  • An Industry Day is planned for 28 June 2018 in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • A final version of the project’s Request for Proposals (RFP) is anticipated to in September 2018 with proposals due in December 2018.
  • 4-6 contract awards anticipated by June 2019.
  • Contractors will have 9 months to provide preliminary designs and data sufficient to allow the Army to downselect to two contractors for FARA CP Design and Risk Review Phase.