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U.S. Army awards Black Hawk replacement contract to Textron's Bell

WASHINGTON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. Army on Monday awarded the contract for its next-generation helicopter to Textron Inc's (TXT.N) Bell unit, ending a years-long competition for the technology that will replace the Black Hawk utility helicopter. The Army's "Future Vertical Lift" competition aimed at finding a replacement as the Army looks to retire more than 2,000 medium-class UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters built by Sikorsky since the 1970s. ( More...

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Chris B 3
Hopefully it will work out much better than any contract Boeing signed with the US Military.
C172Rpilot 2
I would sure like to know what the deciding factors were - I hope it wasn't politics. After all the issues with the Osprey's and the 609 still not certified, I just don't see it.
Michael Wise 1
As one who squeezed LOH's and Huey's into single ship holes in RVN it's hard to imagine doing the same in one of these tilt rotor monsters, and I can't believe we're replacing the Blackhawks already!
Michael Blackstock 1
I only managed a few Blackhawk flights (rides) before I got out. My unit had UH-1s, OH-6s and still enough RVN 'trained' pilots to be common. So, yeah it seems soon, but the mirror tells me differently.
jbqwik 1
What, the Osprey isn't trouble enough (vortex ring state phenomenon; unresolved sprague clutch phenomenon; demanding and restrictive flight envelope; to name a few...)? The Lockheed/Martin is clean-sheet, innovative and offers unique flying capabilities not found anywhere else. I'm hoping the Army knows something we don't. But mostly I thinking they simply went brain dead.
Michael Blackstock 1
You bring up good questions. The V-280 is a clean sheet design, with the addition of information gained via 1/2 million flight hours experience with a similar platform by the company. The other designs lacked this experience.

vortex ring state has endangered vertical lift aircraft since there have been vertical lift aircraft.
I'm not sure how the flight envelope will change with a lighter aircraft. I also don't know with the V-280 being a true tilt-rotor (and not a tilt the whole engine nacelles) if the clutch will be different.

Nonetheless, this contract is "only" $215 million up front. They Army has been saying for the past few years, this program cannot have delays because of the peer-level threats we are facing again. Thus, I trust they made what they thought was the best choice.

From a larger picture, they may see value in spreading around the Future Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft contract to a different vendor, so all our national security eggs are not in one spot.
Robert Judd -7
Robert Judd -8


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