Karem Aircraft, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon are teaming up to execute a $738 million U.S. Army contract awarded to Karem in April as part of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Competitive Prototype (FARA CP) development program.
Karem has highlighted its patented Optimum Speed Tiltrotor (OSTR) technology for the program.
Thomas Berger, Karem’s program manager for FARA CP, said on July 1 that Karem "has enjoyed a strong partnership with the U.S. Army over the last decade collaboratively developing VTOL technologies, and we look forward to leveraging the U.S. Army’s investment by applying these innovative technologies to our FARA aircraft."
Northrop Grumman will lend its expertise in manned and autonomous military aircraft development, system integration, production, and support expertise to the effort and Raytheon its knowledge of systems architecture, mission equipment, and weapons capabilities, according to Karem.
On April 23, the Army awarded Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for Prototype Agreements for the aircraft design, build, and test of FARA to five hopefuls: an AVX/L3 team, Bell, Boeing, Karem Aircraft and Sikorsky.
The Army describes FARA as a “knife fighter” helicopter that will fill the gap left by retiring the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The service said that FARA "will be capable of achieving and sustaining overmatch against potential competitors and enduring asymmetric threats by closing or mitigating gaps in Army aviation attack and reconnaissance."
A down-select to two contractors may come early next year, and those two companies are scheduled to design competitive prototypes followed by a "government-sponsored fly off" in 2023.
AVX, which teamed with L3 to offer a coaxial-rotor compound helicopter was awarded a $732 million contract. Bell's pitch, based on the 525 commercial fly-by-wire helicopter technology, earned the company $790 million. Boeing's award came out to $772 million.
Sikorsky, which is arguably the farthest ahead of the field in developing a FARA candidate with its operational S-97 Raider prototype compound helicopter, was awarded the largest share of the FARA CP development program with a $938.4 million contract.