Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville, nominated by the White House to be the Army’s next Chief of Staff, headlined a handful of Army leaders who spoke at AAAA on Tuesday morning.

General McConville — pictured above at AAAA awarding a Silver Star to Sgt. Emmanuel Bynum for heroic action — said that the Army’s move to “multi-domain operations” means that that military will be operating in anti-access environments moving forward and that this has implications for Army Aviation platforms. “We cannot fight and win tomorrow’s battles with yesterday’s technologies” said McConville, noting that Future Vertical Lift (FVL) is the Service’s #3 modernization priority.

While asserting that Army aviation is being adequately resourced, General McConville underscored the imperative for the Army and industry to deliver. “The Army cannot afford to squander its finite resources. I know we have a good budget, but we can’t always assume that is the way it’s going to be in the future and risk our institutional credibility on massive programs that over-promise, under-deliver and die out under [their] own fiscal weight.”

McConville said that the FVL Cross Functional Team — led by BG Walter Rugen — is leading two rapid system developments – the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). He noted that FARA — which will replace some number of the APACHE force — is the number one priority because it provides more lethality to the force. FLRAA moves troops closer to the fight.

“For both of these aircraft, we wanna fly and we wanna try before we buy, so we are looking forward to innovation from industry. We are looking for modular open system architectures.

William (Bill) P. Marriott – Executive Director of the Aviation Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, a retired naval aviator, identified the fragility of the US Army Aviation supply base as his foremost concern. He stressed his concern over foreign sources of supply and Army Aviation’s continued movement towards longer, multiple-vendor contracting arrangements.

BG Thomas H. Todd III, PEO Aviation described the PEO’s mission set and platform focus (Army Aviation, ISR, Maneuver) to “design, develop, and deliver capability to the field.”

BG Thomas Todd, PEO Aviation

His mission: “Developing the current fleet and setting conditions for the future” with a focus on Affordability, Survivability, Producibility, and Reliability.

Fielding milestones associated with key Army aviation programs include:
– UH-60V: First Unit Equipped – 3QFY21
– AH-64E v6: First Unit Equipped – 1QFY21
– CH47 BLK II – Milestone C – 3QFY21
– MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER – First Unit Equipped November 2018
– Improved Turbine Engine Program – Initial Operational Capability FY27

LTG James Richardson, Deputy Commanding General, Army Futures Command observed that, with the stand-up of the Army Futures Command, the Army is now organized “to get after change” in a way that it has never been. Previously, there were too many people in the process who could say “no” and today the process is much flatter. “We’ve gone from a requirements approval process of 3-5 years to an approval process of 3-5 months.” He said that with FVL as Army modernization priority #3, positive change is ahead.