[Quick note: Thanks for everyone's patience, understanding and condolences over the past week. You guys -- and all of you seem to be guys, by the way -- have been so supportive. Now, it's back to the grind!]
Can the US military rotorcraft industry build anything besides the UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache or CH-47 Chinook?
A new report by Forecast International predicts the time is ripe to launch development of a new helicopter. I’ve heard this for a few years, and there are increasing signs that the interest is real. But I still don’t know where the funding comes from, unless the army wants to sacrifice near-term modernization funding to invest in a risky development project. Here’s an excerpt from the Forecast report:
Among the emerging trends in this market that are identified by the Forecast International study is a new emphasis by the U.S. military on technology innovation and new product development. In recent years, rotorcraft procurement by the
military services has mostly been of improved derivatives of already-existing helicopter types rather than all-new, clean-sheet designs. In response, U.S. manufacturers have generally evolved their military helicopter product lines around these requirements. Jaworowski says, “In many ways, the U.S. military has the domestic helicopter industry for which it has been asking.” Concerns about the stifling of innovation within this industry, though, have in part prompted the Pentagon to launch a number of initiatives intended to kickstart research and development efforts. U.S.