Bids have closed for conceptual design study contracts for a potential new US Army vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft capable of carrying a 20,000kg (44,000lb)-payload for 460km (250nm). The Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) at Fort Eustis, Virginia is planning to award multiple contracts to investigate at least one potential Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) design each in cruise-speed bands of 160-200kt (300-370km/h), 200-250kt and 250-300kt and above.

The concept design analysis (CDA) stage is intended to identify designs that have a “reasonable chance” of being ready to enter a mature development programme by 2012. The bidding process is expected to draw conventional and unconventional concepts, with the AATD understood to be planning to award several contracts to rotorcraft primes Bell Helicopter, Boeing and Sikorsky. But the agency also plans to reserve some of the awards for non-traditional rotorcraft developers, with bidders including the Baldwin Technologies monotiltrotor design and the CarterCopter gyrocopter concept.


Source: Flight International