Army Reorganizes Aviation Portfolio, Canceling FARA Helicopter Program

The Army recently announced its decision to cancel the multibillion-dollar Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program by the end of fiscal 2024. This move is part of a larger reorganization of the Army’s aviation programs, aimed at allocating resources to other investments in aviation technology, specifically unmanned systems.

In addition to canceling the FARA program, the Army will also end production of the UH-60V Black Hawk after fiscal 2024 due to significant cost growth. The Army also plans to delay the production phase of the T901 engine and phase out its Shadow and Raven drone fleets.

The decision to cancel the FARA program comes after the Army delivered the long-awaited flight test engine to the final two prime contract competitors, Textron’s Bell and Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky. However, the Army now believes that the desired capabilities of the FARA program can be achieved through different unmanned and space-based systems.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George stated that aerial reconnaissance has fundamentally changed, with sensors and weapons on unmanned systems and in space becoming more ubiquitous and affordable. The Army aims to accelerate innovation, procurement, and fielding of modern unmanned aircraft systems.

The cancellation of the FARA program is part of the Army’s broader effort to introduce new aircraft and integrate modern technologies into its fleet. The Army will continue its prototyping efforts until the end of the fiscal year, with a total of $2 billion having been allocated towards FARA’s development since 2018.

The Army plans to invest in research and development for unmanned systems and aims to begin a new multiyear procurement deal for the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. It will also continue work on the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program, ensuring it becomes operational by fiscal 2030.

While the cancellation of the FARA program may come as a disappointment, the Army’s reorganization of its aviation portfolio shows a commitment to modernization and the integration of advanced technologies that will help maintain its capabilities in future conflicts.

FAQ:

1. What is the Army’s decision regarding the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program?
– The Army has announced its decision to cancel the FARA program by the end of fiscal 2024.

2. Why is the Army canceling the FARA program?
– The cancellation is part of a larger reorganization of the Army’s aviation programs to allocate resources towards investments in unmanned systems and aviation technology.

3. What other programs will be affected by the reorganization?
– The Army will also end production of the UH-60V Black Hawk after fiscal 2024 and delay the production phase of the T901 engine. It will also phase out its Shadow and Raven drone fleets.

4. How does the Army plan to achieve the desired capabilities of the FARA program?
– The Army believes that the desired capabilities can be achieved through different unmanned and space-based systems.

5. What prompted the cancellation of the FARA program?
– The Army Chief of Staff stated that aerial reconnaissance has changed with the increasing affordability and ubiquity of sensors and weapons on unmanned systems and in space.

6. What is the Army’s focus now?
– The Army aims to accelerate innovation, procurement, and fielding of modern unmanned aircraft systems. It plans to invest in research and development for unmanned systems and continue work on the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program.

Definitions:

– FARA: Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, a now-canceled Army program focused on developing a new attack and reconnaissance helicopter.
– UH-60V Black Hawk: An upgraded version of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with a digital cockpit and new avionics.
– T901 engine: The engine intended to power future Army helicopters.
– Shadow and Raven drone fleets: Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fleets used by the Army for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes.
– Unmanned systems: Refers to aircraft or vehicles that operate without a human pilot on board, often remotely controlled or autonomously operated.

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