Sometime later this year the U.S. Army will select a rotorcraft to replace its ubiquitous Black Hawk as part of a program called Future Vertical Lift. There has been much talk in the defense trade press about the airframes competing for the award. However, a big part of what will make Future Vertical Lift a gamechanger isn’t about the airframes, it’s about the on-board electronics which will offer features such as sensor fusion and seamless connectivity. These are provided through a mission equipment package which the Army is competing separately from the airframe. In order for Future Vertical Lift to achieve its full warfighting potential, the electronic systems must embrace several foundational design principles such as modular open architectures, mesh networking, manned/unmanned teaming and automated diagnostic and decision aids. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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