Sikorsky Statement on the U.S. Army Announcement Ending the FARA Program

RAIDER X at Sikorsky’s facility in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Prime contractor on the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program, Sikorsky (Lockheed Martin Company, has issued the following statement on last week’s Army announcement ending the program.

“To provide the U.S. military and its allies a decisive advantage to deter conflict now and in the future, there must be a transformational improvement in rotorcraft systems capabilities – and a strong engineering workforce that can strengthen the nation’s leading edge in rotorcraft innovation. With a $1 billion investment, X2 aircraft offer speed, range and agility that no other helicopter in the world can match. We remain confident in X2 aircraft for U.S. and international mission needs now and in the future. We are disappointed in this decision and will await a U.S. Army debrief to better understand its choice.”

Sikorsky also mentions that the low and high-speed maneuverability of X2 aircraft, at 70-plus degree angles-of-bank, is critical for operating in contested environments. Fly-by-wire controls reduce pilots’ workload so they can focus on the mission. And the ability to fly at high altitudes and hover in hot conditions, common in the INDOPACOM region, is critical to the U.S. Army’s FARA mission.

As for future plans, Sikorsky has set out three focus areas:

Sikorsky will continue to execute on its current programs, seek to capture new business and remain a vibrant part of the rotary wing industrial base and Connecticut economy.

·       Black Hawk in the U.S. and international includes a Multi-Year XI production opportunity and new modernization opportunities that will keep the Black Hawk powerful, ready and relevant for decades to come.

·       The CH-53K Heavy Lift helicopter is a major growth driver for Sikorsky with international interests. MH-60R Romeo continues to see international demand for maritime operations. Our customers continue to depend upon the Combat Rescue Helicopter, VH-92 and S-92 to support their critical missions.

*Please note that the UH-60V cockpit is developed by Northrop Grumman.

17 Responses to “Sikorsky Statement on the U.S. Army Announcement Ending the FARA Program”

  1. Hodge175 says:

    The military has hurt so many companies with all this R&D investment only to pull the carpet out from under them.

    • Al says:

      Sikorsky’s parent company Lockheed Martin has hindered the military and the tax payer more than you could imagine with it’s mismanagement, over running budget and ambitious claims to what it can deliver. This is business as usual, don’t let these defense companies fool you in playing victim.

  2. DangerMouse says:

    A lot of pundits are pointing at the war in Ukraine and saying helicopters aren’t survivable against a modern IADS.

    I think they miss the critical role they played in the defense of Mariupol (yes despite losing a number of aircraft). But of course, that’s more of a FLRAA than FARA mission profile.

    On one hand, the capabilities of modern drones do significantly reduce the need for a scout helicopter.

    On the other, you can’t assume that ever war we ever fight in the future is going to be against a peer adversary with a completely integrated air defense system.

    Perhaps one argument is that the precision strike missile for the Army eliminates some of the need for heavy attack helicopters to begin with. And augmented by drones, it’s good enough and a lot cheaper.

    Perhaps I’m just being a nostalgic GenXer.

    • DSM says:

      I think the assumption that something is now considered obsolete by is something that recurs often throughout history. Similar arguments as with the A-10 and survivalibility come to mind. Neither takes into account that each do not operate in a vacuum and SEAD is, and will always be, a priority task to ensure air superiority.

    • Strike-Hold! says:

      “On one hand, the capabilities of modern drones do significantly reduce the need for a scout helicopter.”

      Drone’s can, and are, have shown to be extremely effective in many ways – but can they fully replace the capabilities of the FARA, and in all scenarios? Surely there needs to be something in-between the F-35 and a Class II drone…

      “On the other, you can’t assume that ever war we ever fight in the future is going to be against a peer adversary with a completely integrated air defense system.”

      TRUTH. And even if the enemy does have IADS, they are certainly a long way from being invulnerable to interdiction.

      So, it will be interesting to see what the Army asks for next – and how long it will take…

    • Giggity says:

      Well, I agree with the need for new modern helicopters, though I think you could have given different examples why. Instead of looking at Ukraines use of them (which has been fairly limited) look at Russia’s. Russian attack helicopters have been by far their most effective weapon in the war. We do need to focus on near peer adversaries far more than we need to focus on anything else, but we will still dominate the air in the sense that Russia is in Ukraine so you can expect the same or better results from our helicopters.

  3. muddd says:

    shocker.. army rotary wing project getting 1/2 way led to water.. Arapahoe, Comanche, FARA..

  4. Keith A L says:

    The recent grounding of the tilt rotor Osprey should halt the acquisition of the tilt rotor aircraft slated to replace the Blackhawk.
    Hell no. Pull that plug not the FARA.
    The twin counter rotating main rotor Russian helicopter Hi 58 (?) has proven the value and necessity of this type of aircraft in the future.
    Tilt rotor systems are FAR MORE COMPLEX than the twin counter rotating main rotors.
    STOOPID fools did not build enough F22s and got over 1,000 inglorious F35 piece of shit.
    Stop the F35.
    Build the far cheaper bomb trucks like the Gen 4+ F36 Kingsnake and F15ex

    • R Parker says:

      Sikorsky should be the winner. Their twin rotor was very close in performance to Bell’s tilt rotor AND it can AutoRotate in the event of an engine failure. Sikorsky lost because of they had less political support to get their options approved. I look for the X2 concept to be used in special forces teams. I believe in you Sikorsky, keep your heads high and your hearts involved in your company, you are an American treasure!! Thank you for all you have done and will do for America and We The People!!

      • CH47AV8R says:

        Frank Piasecki pioneered tandem rotor helicopter designs and created the compound helicopter concept of vectored thrust using a ducted propeller, which Sikorsky evolved with new & advanced avionic & material technology into a practical & high-performance rotorcraft platform.
        The USMC kept the V-22 program alive early on with doctored maintenance cost reporting which later resulted in a major program ‘adjustment’ and black eye for the maintenance cost of this platform.
        Defense Aerospace.COM; “In 2020 the cost per flight hour was $43,767, a 21.8% hike over 2019’s cost. It didn’t meet (PDF) its mission-capability goal in any fiscal year from 2011 to 2021. In 2019, only 52% of Marine V-22s were ready to fly (PDF). The V-22 tiltrotor production line is slated to shut down in 2026, given the lack of Pentagon orders for more of them in next year’s budget. Its fate illustrates the military-industrial complex’s inbred wishful thinking and its complete lack of a bullwish detector.”

      • Troy says:

        What are you talking about? Bell won for a simple reason, Sikorsky did not meet the requirements set by Army. They rested on their laurels thinking they had it in the bag without making required changes. Bell kept improving their design to meet the requirements. They did not understand the changes with AFC to fail often and early to get to the best solution and thought ASA ALT would milestone it and they could fix the problems later during development while passing cost to taxpayer.

  5. seadogpirate says:

    This helicopter would make a great civilian life flight helicopter that can get people to the hospital faster.

  6. CH47AV8R says:

    The US Army FLRAA program with the Bell Textron V-280 Valor tiltrotor as the winner brings into question the US Army’s failure to develop an affordable, practical evolutionary rotorcraft. Having worked with Sikorsky on the ‘LHX’ Shadow with single pilot avionic/display capabilities, it was evident their ability to progress in the development of an advanced rotorcraft platform coupled with advanced electro-optics for the pilot that later came to fruition in the US Army Comanche Program,,,, which the Army later canceled at great taxpayer expense.
    The selection of the V-280 Valor as a Blackhawk replacement must beg the question of the radar signature of a tilt rotor’s rotor system and ability to land safely in a confined area… at night. The Defiant X coaxial/push-puller rotor platform would appear to be a more practical solution for the tactical high-threat flight environment, the Army maintenance system, and operation support cost structure.

  7. Drew P says:

    I agree that the tilt rotor choice to replace the proven blackhawk is a ridiculous choice. There is a reason that there is so many versions of the H-60. How do they even believe the tilt rotor design will even be transported international? They can not be folded up as quick as the Blackhawk. All the retraining for pilots and mechanics will be overwhelming. Auto rotation is a much needed emergancy procedure that should be condiered and that doesnt come with the tilt rotor. Too many political hands are involved and that should be stopped. The FARA is an aircraft that could be chosen not to be produced but the tilt rotor is a major waste of money.

  8. Garcia says:

    Obviously,if the Army is looking for a Blackhawk replacement they think this kind of weapon is needed,the number they think,so the twin tilt rotor concept for thiis niche is absurd at all & is a clear proof of corruption for just a stupid can believe Bell’s is the best option.;but there are not stupid working there.

  9. Kevin crawley says:

    The valor can be autorotated.

  10. Chris says:

    After 38 years at Sikorsky they laid me off’

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