As in recent years, a central focus of interest at this year’s AAAA will be on the budget, requirements, and schedule specifics associated with the Army’s emerging plans for building its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family of helicopters.
First up is the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), the FVL Capability Set 1 (light attack and scouting) helicopter that is to replace the Army’s retired OH-58 Kiowa Warrior. A solicitation for FARA competitive prototypes was released in October 2018. The Army intends to pick two companies to build prototypes, which are to be flying by 2023.
On deck is the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), the new name for what the Army had been calling FVL Capability Set 3, a mid-size transport to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk. The Army issued a Sources Sought notice on 10 April 2019. Service officials want FLRAA flying by 2030.
Among the announced news and planned briefings from the AAAA show’s 330+ exhibitors:
Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Division had three AAAA announcements: (a) the newest addition to its groundbreaking family of small form factor (SFF) network switches, the Parvus® DuraNET 3300; (b) the demonstration of the DDC-I’s Deos™ DO-178 DAL Level A safety-critical multi-core real-time operating system (RTOS); and (c) the demonstration of Green Hills Software’s field-proven INTEGRITY-178 tuMP safety- and security-critical multi-core real-time operating system (RTOS).
Elbit Systems of America, LLC, an innovation leader in bringing information fusion technologies into aircraft cockpits for the U.S. Army’s current and future vertical lift programs, featured an innovative suite of intelligent pilot interfaces, aircraft survivability solutions and robust multi-core mission processors.
The General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) display featured a 1/6th scale model of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS and a demonstration of GA-ASI’s Heresy suite of systems. The Heresy suite includes MMC, Metis and XC2. Multi-Mission Control (MMC) allows a single user to simultaneously control and monitor multiple UAS. Metis is a disruptive mission tasking and intelligence sharing system enabling optimized multi-domain ISR employment. The eXpeditionary Command & Control (XC2) system minimizes the resource footprint for UAS launch and recovery, while simultaneously increasing deployment agility.
Honeywell touted news that a pair of the company’s venerable T55 turboshaft engines have successfully powered a new FVL demonstrator, the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant, during a first flight test in late March.
Industrial Electronic Engineers (IEE) Inc., developer and manufacturer of rugged displays for military applications, highlighted displays designed for rotary and fixed wing airborne applications with proven interface capabilities. IEE is featuring a 3.5″ Transflective AMLCD Display designed for helicopter avionics that operates under a wide range of lighting conditions from full dark (NVIS) through bright sunlight. Also featured on IEE’s stand was a just-released 8″x20″ display.
Lockheed Martin’s modernized turret for the Apache AH-64E aircraft appeared for the first time on the show floor at AAAA and a company executive provided a first look at the company’s 360-degree Pilotage Distributed Aperture Sensor (PDAS) imagery captured in initial test flights. The company’s pitch for its S-97 RAIDER helicopter, among the leading contenders for the Army’s FARA program, was kept in an invitation-only trailer at the edge of the trade show floor.
Panasonic exhibited a variety of rugged TOUGH PAD and TOUGHBOOK mobility solutions that are used by the Army, other military branches, and federal agencies to work efficiently and safely both on and off the battlefield. Particular focus is on how mobile devices will enable/enhance the use of technologies like AI and UAVs in the military moving forward.
Sikorsky and Boeing provided an update on the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 DEFIANT on Monday morning at the Sikorsky-Boeing FVL Booth #546.