The U.S. Army has selected Bell Textron and Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky to build prototypes for the second phase of its Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. Other companies with FARA design entries included Boeing, Karem Aircraft and an AVX Aircraft-L3 Technologies team. Phase two will end with a flight test evaluation, which the Army says will take place no later than fall 2023.
Bell’s FARA design, the 360 Invictus, will feature lift-sharing wings, a fly-by-wire flight control system, modular open system architecture (MOSA) compliant avionics, supplemental power unit and articulated main rotor with high flapping capability. It is expected to have a top speed of greater than 185 knots, 1,400-pound payload, combat radius of 135 NM with greater than 90 minutes time on station and be capable of hovering out of ground effect (HOGE) at 4,000 feet in temperatures of up to 95°F.
Sikorsky’s Raider X offers a coaxial design based on the company’s Collier-winning X2 technology, MOSA-based avionics, enhanced low-speed hover, off-axis hover and level acceleration and braking. Most target performance numbers for the Raider X have not been announced, but the company says it will be capable of speeds greater than 205 knots.