Thursday, October 04, 2018

US Army wants ultra high tech Scout Helicopter on the cheap...Mission Impossible?

via Breaking Defense.
The Army wants its revolutionary Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) to come in at about the same price as its current AH-64E Apache attack helicopter, no more than $30 million per aircraft. That’s an ambitious target for a rotorcraft that, while smaller than the heavily armed and armored Apache gunship, will be much more advanced.

FARA has to be able to work with everything from artillery to hackers to jet fighters to crack open high-tech defenses in a what the military is calling multi-domain warfare. So, among other high-tech features, the Army wants the new scout aircraft to have

*Artificial Intelligence able to fly without human pilots on at least some missions, a concept called “optional manning”;

*a secure communications network to control a whole “ecosystem” of specialized drones that can lead the way into the most dangerous airspace. This is a concept known as Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T), which the Apache force has experimented with but isn’t really designed for;

*a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA), aka open architecture, that allows quick upgrades of both hardware and software, as long as they meet certain common standards, instead of the often agonizing process required to update existing aircraft;

*a top speed 33 percent faster, 235 miles per hour (205 knots) as opposed to the Apache’s 176 mph, so it can dash through short-lived openings in enemy anti-aircraft defenses;

*but, at the same time, enough fuel efficiency at those high speeds to reach targets 155 miles away (a “combat radius” of 135 nautical miles).

Just when I was thinking the Army was the most realistic and cost effective force when it came to spending funds for modernization they go and do this.

If this was the path then they really should have stuck with Comanche!

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