As 2016 dawns, so does the look and feel of the the US Army’s FVL (Future Vertical Lift) program. Intended to replace the aging AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk in the not-too-distant future, the FVL looks to incorporate advances in technology that will help keep the aircraft flying well into the mid 21st Century. Two competing designs are beginning to take shape; one by Bell, dubbed the V-280 Valor, and the other by Sikorsky-Boeing, and known as the SB-1 Defiant.
The Valor resembles the V-22 Osprey, in that it makes use of a tilt-rotor wing for added lift and range, while the Sikorsky design makes use of a pair of contra-rotating overhead blades for improved performance.
According to Flightglobal, “No funding has been allocated for FVL thus far, but the army expects to firm its performance requirements once the demonstrators fly. FVL might not surface in the army’s upcoming fiscal year 2017 budget submission, but Bell hopes funding will be made available in 2018 or 2019 to get things moving.”