Sikorsky/Schweizer on ARH: We’re in

schweizer330.jpg

Sikorsky has confirmed they will respond to a US army “sources sought” notice for the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter re-competition.

“Yes, we will be presenting both short- and long-term solutions,” a Sikorsky spokesman says.

I didn’t even have to ask a follow up!

“To your next question, I must decline to elaborate on those solutions,” he adds.

Shucks.

So what does this mean?

It’s not a slam dunk that Sikorsky will compete for the contract. But it adds a very interesting wrinkle to the potential field.

So far, Boeing, AgustaWestland and EADS North America/Eurocopter have confirmed to me that they will respond to the sources sought notice. Bell Helicopter, perhaps still recovering from ARH-70 termination decision last month, says they haven’t decided whether to respond yet.

So what could Sikorsky propose?

We don’t know. But I can guess.

The long-term solution is most likely a military variant of the high-speed X2 coaxial rotorcraft.

The near-term bid could be more interesting. I’m going to guess the Schweizer 330 (see picture above). Sikorsky could even claim a commonality advantage. The US Army has already picked the unmanned version of the Schweizer 333 — Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8B Fire Scout — for the Future Combat System.

Next question: anybody want to bet on an ARH bid based on the Robinson R66?

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One Response to Sikorsky/Schweizer on ARH: We’re in

  1. Royce 14 November, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    The Schweizer 434 would be the choice because of the more powerful engine and higher load. But given the army’s tendency to spend gobs of money on something as simple as a small recon helicopter the X2 can’t be ruled out. But I don’t see the X2 as the right choice for the competition. The OH-58s need to be replaced promptly, and matching an already delayed, troubled program up to a piece of new tech like the X2 sounds like a recipe for cost overruns and even longer delays.

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