By Merv Brokke, AMRDEC Public AffairsOctober 3, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., October 3, 2013--The Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center announces the award of four Technology Investment Agreements under Broad Agency Announcement W911W6-12-R-0021 Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator Phase 1 to AVX Aircraft Company, Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Karem Aircraft Inc., and Sikorsky Aircraft Company.
JMR-TD is a Science and Technology demonstration intended to mitigate risk for the Future Vertical Lift development program through the testing of advanced technologies and efficient configurations.
The purpose of the JMR-TD is to demonstrate an operationally representative mix of capabilities to investigate realistic design trades and enabling technologies. Emerging results from JMR-TD Phase 1 will be used to inform the Future Vertical Lift effort regarding promising vehicle configurations, the maturity of enabling technologies, attainable performance and capabilities , and highlight the affordable technical solutions required to achieve those capabilities.
For the next nine months, the four industry teams will be refining their initial designs and making preparations toward potentially building and flight-testing a demonstrator aircraft late in FY17.
With this signing, the Army has taken a large step toward developing a new family of aircraft referred to as Future Vertical Lift Family of Systems.
"This is a critical risk reducing effort for FVL," said Maj. Gen. William "Tim" Crosby, Program Executive Officer for Aviation. "The operational benefits and changes will depend on the capabilities we can deliver to the war fighter with FVL. Improved speed, range, reliability, and survivability are critical goals that we will target. I am very proud of the accomplishments of our AMRDEC partners and the PEO Aviation team."
FVL is an initiative; not yet a solution. Established in 2009 by the Secretary of Defense as a Joint effort to focus all DoD vertical lift capabilities and technology development by conducting a Capability Based Assessment and developing an S&T plan.
In October 2011, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued the Future Vertical Lift Strategic Plan [The Future Vertical Lift Initiative: A Strategic Plan for United States Department of Defense Vertical Lift Aircraft] to outline a joint approach for the next generation vertical lift aircraft for all Military Services. The Strategic Plan provides a foundation for replacing the current fleet with advanced capability by shaping the development of vertical lift aircraft for the next 25 to 40 years. The Strategic Plan indicates that 80% of decision points for the DoD vertical lift fleet to either extend the life, retire, or replace with a new solution occur in the next 8-10 years.
"We must continue to push implementation of the FVL Strategic Plan which will positively impact Vertical Lift Aviation operations for the next 50+ years. Absolutely, that is what JMR is all about. As we understand the demonstrated technologies and the opportunities for future technologies, that will feed the desired and reasonable capabilities and requirements for the potential FVL solutions," said Dr. William Lewis, Director of the AMRDEC's Aviation Development Directorate.
The JMR-TD program Joint and has multi-Service participation as the knowledge gained will feed any FVL solution. The JMR-TD program is not the only S&T effort feeding those future decision points and potential FVL solutions. The Army, in concert with other agencies such as NASA, continues to broadly invest in vertical lift technology and mission systems.
"We are looking to bring transformational vertical lift capabilities across the spectrum of operations," said Lewis.
FVL multi-role capabilities enabled by avionics will support a wide range of joint missions, including aerial reconnaissance, anti submarine warfare, Anti Surface Warfare, special operations, amphibious assault, undersea warfare, surface warfare, air assault, Medical evacuation, Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance, Search and Rescue, Command and Control, Combat Search and Rescue, attack, logistics, homeland security and cargo operations.
Although four initial awards were made, there is a decision point in FY14 that will reduce the number potentially down to two demonstrators. Since JMR-TD is not a pre-selection program for FVL, the decision not to fully fund one of the demonstrators could be made for a variety of reasons. The conclusion could be, for instance, that a particular design meets the desired capability and is sufficiently mature and therefore, does not need further investment of the Army's Science and Technology funds.
AMRDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.