Saturday, September 26, 2020

U.S. Army awards contract to Bell Textron to conduct FARA design analysis

The U.S. Army Contracting Command has awarded Bell Textron Inc. multi-year production deal as part of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program.

The contract, announced Tuesday by the Department of Defense, is worth more than $13,5 million covers design studies, analyses, simulation, testing, integration and fabrication activities in order to mitigate risks, investigate operational usage and conduct maturation activities at the technology, subsystem and system-level maturation for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and its variants.

Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 7, 2025.

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Operating within the FARA concept, the U.S. Army expected to replace the OH-58 Scout helicopter. The FARA competition seeks to test and acquire a next-generation attack reconnaissance aircraft to fill a critical capability gap identified by the Army on a rapid schedule.

The Army requires an aircraft capable of operating in a complex airspace and degraded environments against peer and near-peer adversaries with an advanced integrated air defense system. The current aviation fleet does not possess a dedicated aircraft to conduct armed reconnaissance, light attack, and security with improved standoff and lethal and non-lethal capabilities from a platform sized to hide in radar clutter and for the urban canyons of mega cities.

The new platform will contain a variety of payloads to degrade or destroy advanced unmanned aerial systems and provide support to troops on the ground.

The Aviation and Missile Center is developing a FARA prototype, which will be a smaller variant than the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft that is also in development. These future aircraft systems will have multiple types of unmanned aerial systems with lethal and nonlethal effects that can operate in communications- and GPS-denied environments.

In mid-March, the U.S. Army selected Bell Textron Inc. and Sikorsky, a business unit of Lockheed Martin, to build and test versatile, lethal and sustainable competitive prototypes for the FARA program.

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Executive Editor

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