US defence giant and Sikorsky parent Lockheed Martin has been disclosed as the recipient of a €2 million ($2.15 million) contract to carry out a study into the open system architecture (OSA) for a future rotorcraft under a NATO-led project.

Awarded by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) on 13 December but not revealed until 1 February, the contract for the Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) work follows an “open competition based on best value principles”.

ItalyNH90-c-NH Industries

Source: NH Industries

Italy is part of NGRC grouping studying long-term replacement of legacy platforms

Through the study, due to last around nine months, Lockheed will “identify, analyse and compare OSA concepts that could potentially fulfil the NGRC capability requirement”, says the NSPA.

“Its outcome will enrich NSPA’s knowledge and understanding of relevant OSAs and their enabling digital ecosystems to help inform assessment of future integrated platform concept design reviews.”

Last December, US engine manufacturer GE Aerospace was selected to conduct a similar study into future propulsion concepts.

Led by six European NATO members – France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK – the NGRC initiative seeks to deliver a new medium-class military helicopter before 2040 to replace large numbers of legacy platforms.

The NSPA will use the two industry-led system studies, plus a nation-level effort to define a concept of operations for the new rotorcraft, to later this year launch further concept design activities that will focus on the whole aircraft.

A request for proposals covering that work is due to be released in the coming months, leading to the award of three €5 million contracts by late July, followed by a trio of concepts being presented by the end of 2025.