Joint Heavy-Lifter: No Flyoff, No Time Soon

By James T. McKenna | May 1, 2008
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Don’t look for the latest iteration of the U.S. joint effort to field a heavy-lift rotorcraft or short-takeoff/landing bird to produce a flyoff or an acquisition program before 2015. The previous, Joint Heavy Lift program, headed by the U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, had hoped to revive the practice of a flyoff between the most promising concepts. That was viewed as a means of promoting technology development and reducing is selecting the most promising candidate to lift a 20-ton-plus payload. But the near-term budget and political environment—including a change of presidential administrations come January—cast a flyoff as a pipe dream. So the now Joint Future Theater Lift program likely will lead to a single choice for a prototype. But that won’t happen in the 2010-2015 timeframe. The Army and U.S. Air Force need that time to meld their requirements-definition and analyses-of-alternatives processes into a joint effort. The Joint Heavy Lift effort was scuttled because it lacked Air Force buy-in, a top Army official said, which was necessary for both that service’s support and its funding. For related news


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