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US Army Seeks Future Attack Helicopter To Replace Apache Fleet

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

The U.S. Army is considering whether it should purchase Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) to replace its aging fleet of Boeing AH-64 Apache and Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior copters, reported Task & Purpose.

“The FARA will only replace Apaches in our heavy attack reconnaissance squadrons and this represents about half of the Apache fleet,” a spokesperson for Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Aviation Week.

US Army Seeks Future Attack Helicopter To Replace Apache Fleet

“There have already been serious questions about whether the AH-64 platform will be able to remain relevant, especially in a high-end conflict environment, through 2048, when the Army plans to retire the very last of the gunships,” Joseph Trevithick at The War Zone explained.

US Army Seeks Future Attack Helicopter To Replace Apache Fleet

The Army expects to be integrating significant upgrades into its latest AH-64E Guardian variants through 2026. These include updates to its fire control and targeting systems, improved data sharing and fusion capabilities, better sensors, a more robust ability to work directly with unmanned aircraft and more,” Trevithick added.

In 2018, the Army selected several FARA candidates. Sikorsky is currently in the running with the S-97 Raider high-speed scout and attack helicopter. Bell is developing a V-280 Valor tiltrotor that was also selected.

Video: Sikorsky S-97 Raider flight test

Video: Bell V-280 Valor flight test

“We’re looking for an aircraft that, without going into specific requirements or classifications, essentially goes further, can see further, can acquire specific targets further and can engage at greater ranges than current exist and has greater legs – can fly further with a greater payload of weapon systems,” Milley told Congress on March 26, 2019.

The Army could purchase hundreds of FARA helicopters within the next ten years. If a new helicopter replaces the AH-64 and OH-58D, then the service could be looking at 700 new aircraft – a contract worth tens of billions of dollars.

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Prince Teutonic

S-97 Raider resembles K-52 a little…

Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

It sure does yes


OMG – contra-rotation like in K-52. It is obviously copying that technology!

Raptar Driver

Only a mini-gun with 500 rounds and a handful of dumb rockets, not very impressive; the U.S. is playing catch up and not quite getting there but I bet a select few are becoming very wealthy from this pretender.



Raptar Driver


Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

What is wrong with asking the boots on the ground and the pilots, what design to choose?
Thats right, there is a risk it would be super sturdy, simple, reliable, suitable, what the troops really want and cheap (aka A-10)

That V-280 is not a helicopter, its a tilt-rotor aircraft, and that other design just looks way to complicated, to many moving parts.

One of my old childhood friends was once a aircraft mechanic in the RDAF, and he said: “If it moves, it will fail”, and no pilot or groundcrew what something hightech that only works fraction of the time and needs constant maintenance.


The US Army would LOVE to have the A-10. If the USAF were to offer them the chance to take over the A-10 because it wants to fly F-35’s instead the US Army would scream YES!!! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!!!

Unfortunately there is this pesky law in place whereby the US Army cannot operate fixed wing aircraft and the USAF would rather cut off its own nose in spite then give the US Army its own fixed wing air fleet. Hell, if it could the USAF would take away any fixed wing aircraft from the US Navy and Marines as it feels it should be the only one which operates those. US internecine rivalry is a very interesting thing to watch and I dare say the various services hate each other even more then they do any foreign enemy. The bitterest wars have been fought inside the Pentagon and getting the various services to properly coordinate is a Herculean task in itself.

The US Army feels like the USAF does not give it proper air support, and the USAF doesn’t really want that job anyway, it much more prefers to do its own thing. Therefore the US Army relies heavily on its Apaches to provide the grunts with close air support, and therefore it will throw a shitload of money on any successor, even if it means it will have to be something really stupidly complicated. At F-35 levels of ridiculousness. Because it cannot be a fixed wing aircraft or the USAF will take it away from them.


Both airframes of the models above simply are not suitable for an attack helicopter.

The drive train of the S-97 may be suitable for an attack helicopter, but a whole new airframe for an attack version would have to be developed.

I doubt of that the airframe of the Osprey derivative can be adapted. Keep in mind that this derivative has a safety measure for when on engine fails. An axle from one engine to the other allows bidirectional power transfer. However it also created a huge frontal surface exposed to incoming ammunition. Armoring that will probably impose an unacceptable weight penalty. Also I doubt that the slow speed flight characteristics of that Osprey derivative are sufficiently agile for an attack helicopter role. The not so easy transition from hover to horizontal flight may well limit that agility far too much.

Domenic Patrone

Americans in power have friends .. ahem .. to help, hence the purchase of such a worthless thing. It doesn’t out perform either of those it plans to replace. It’s just junk in the air. No gain to keep or get rid of .. heheh.

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