Science and technology officials connected to the prospective, army-lead Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme say bringing a completely new rotorcraft online requires substantial time and money, and most importantly, someone to request a new rotary wing airframe over an upgrade or life-extension of the current type. Today, there is no definitive requirement for FVL, except a general desire for greater range and speed.
FVL aims to deliver next-generation rotorcraft in light, medium and heavy-lift categories for all services, but Michael Fallon of the navy’s rotary wing science and technology office says military spending levels are the “huge determining factor” in deciding if and when long-serving aircraft types like H-1, H-60 and V-22 will be refreshed or replaced through FVL.
“It’s really going to depend on the programmes of record and if they’re going to sundown. That’s something for them to decide,” he said at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington this week. “We’ll see how this plays out.”