The U.S. Army is planning to replace all of its Cold War helicopters with new rotorcraft through a program called Future Vertical Lift. The first step in that multi-decade effort is to find an airframe that can take the place of Black Hawk utility helicopters and Apache attack helicopters. One possibility is that the Army will opt to buy a third-generation tiltrotor from Bell/Textron similar to the Marine Corps’ MV-22B Osprey. A second possibility is that it will buy an advanced conventional helicopter being offered by a Sikorsky/Lockheed-Boeing team. Either option would provide an airframe vastly superior to what the Army is operating today. Based on the experience Marines have had with the Osprey, the tiltrotor option could radically transform the way Army Aviation does business. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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