Sikorsky and Boeing Launch Formal Protest of U.S. Army’s FLRAA Decision

The Sikorsky and Boeing DEFIANT X helicopter features a rigid coaxial rotor system and pusher propeller to provide increased speed, maneuverability, and survivability. Image

Sikorsky has filed a formal protest asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the U.S. Army’s decision regarding the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) contract. Boeing, Sikorsky’s partner on its bid for the FLRAA award, is supporting the protest.

Sikorsky and Boeing have indicated that the challenge is based on their review of information and feedback provided by the Army. The companies said that the data and discussions have led them to believe that the FLRAA proposals were not consistently evaluated to deliver the best value in the interests of the Army and U.S. taxpayers.

Earlier this month, the Army selected the Bell V-280 tiltrotor aircraft for the FLRAA contract. The V-280 had been competing for the award against the DEFIANT X compound helicopter from Sikorsky and Boeing.

The FLRAA is initially aimed at replacing the Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk utility/transport helicopters. The Army has approximately 2,000 Black Hawks in service or planned, though their replacement by FLRAA is unlikely to be on a one-for-one basis.

Program plans call for an initial FLRAA prototype to be delivered to the Army by 2025. First unit equipped is planned for FY30.

For the longer term, the Army has also been considering development of an attack rotorcraft derived from the FLRAA utility model. An attack version would be used to replace the service’s AH-64 Apache helicopters.

Forecast International’s Rotorcraft Forecast provides complete coverage of the worldwide rotorcraft market, ranging from two-seat pistons such as the Robinson R22 up to giant turbine helicopters such as the Russian Helicopters Mi-26. Also included is coverage of tiltrotor aircraft such as the Leonardo AW609 and Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey. Both the military and civil markets are covered. Due to the nature of present-day conflict, rotorcraft acquisition continues to be a priority for the world’s militaries. And the civil market, despite some current difficulties, has considerable long-term potential. An annual subscription includes nearly 60 reports, most with a 10-year unit production forecast. Five Market Segment Analyses explore the trends and dynamics impacting the various segments of the rotorcraft market, and discuss longer-term programs such as the U.S. military’s Future Vertical Lift project. For more details click here.

About Raymond Jaworowski

Raymond Jaworowski currently co-authors three of Forecast International's best-selling products: Civil Aircraft Forecast, Military Aircraft Forecast, and Rotorcraft Forecast. As a contributor to Aviation Week & Space Technology's Aerospace Source Book, he has authored Aircraft Outlooks, and provided input for the publication's Aircraft Specifications tables. Raymond has represented Forecast International at numerous conferences and trade shows, often as a featured speaker. He is a member of the American Helicopter Society. Prior to joining Forecast International, he worked at Industry News Service and, earlier, interned at the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

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