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Lockheed pitches F-35 technology for US Army’s future vertical lifter

Lockheed Martin showcased an F-35 flight simulator at the Army Aviation Association of America’s Mission Solutions Summit this week, in an effort to promote technology that could be integrated into future army aircraft.

Ed Whalen, Lockheed’s rotary wing capture lead, says more than 100 army personnel had flown the simulator since the start of the Summit. The event was held in Nashville, Tennessee from 4-6 May.

“We want to take the most advanced weapons platform in the world and expose army aviators to that system,” Whalen told reporters on 6 May. He notes technology like that in the F-35's helmet could be integrated into the future vertical lift (FVL) programme, which seeks to develop the next-generation of army aircraft.

The F-35 helmet, made by Vision Systems International, has “distributed aperture” technology that uses integrated sensors to give pilots a visual view "through" the aircraft.

The army is expected to take the next step in the FVL programme later this year, when it will name two companies to build technology demonstrators which will inform the final design.

“The army has the chance now to move technology to where it has never been before,” Whalen says.

Lockheed is working on the development of a single “common missions system” that could be integrated into light, medium, heavy and ultra-heavy future vertical lift aircraft. A common system could save the army billions of dollars in procurement and sustainment costs, eliminating the need to train maintenance staff, trainers and personnel in multiple systems, the company says.

“At the end of the day, a common system [is] going to save a lot of money and give you a lot of capability for [your] buck,” says Whalen.

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