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The US Army has reduced its Future Attack and Reconnaissance (FARA) competition to two contenders. Bell Helicopter Textron's 360 Invictus and Sikorsky Aircraft's Raider X have been given the green light to proceed to the prototype phase in search of a new "knife fighter" small assault helicopter to replace the Army's Bell OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopter.

Today's announcement is the culmination of the first phase of the FARA competition that began in April 2019 with five contenders, AVX Aircraft with L3Harris, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Karem Aircraft and Sikorsky Aircraft.

Each of the five contenders was asked to submit an initial design and risk review assessment for a small combat helicopter for armed reconnaissance, light attack, and security missions using improved standoff and lethal and non-lethal capabilities. The aircraft is supposed to be able to hide in radar clutter near the ground as well as operate in the cramped city streets between skyscrapers in large cities.

The two successful companies will now go on to phase two under an Other Transaction Authority for Prototype agreement to build prototypes of the competing designs for future assessment and government flight tests in late 2023.

"The Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft is the Army's number one aviation modernization priority and is integral to effectively penetrate and dis-integrate adversaries' Integrated Air Defense Systems," says Bruce D. Jette, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology. "It will enable combatant commanders with greater tactical, operational and strategic capabilities through significantly increased speed, range, endurance, survivability, and lethality."

Source: US Army