U.S. Army Plans To Announce JMR Flight-Test Phase

 - August 5, 2014, 1:40 PM
The AVX Aircraft proposal for the U.S. Army's JMR effort is shown in "utility transport" configuration. (Photo: AVX Aircraft)

The U.S. Army will assemble a panel later this month or in September to explain the flight-test phase of its joint multi-role technology demonstration (JMR TD) to develop a future vertical-lift aircraft. The service has said that it plans to select two proposed designs to advance to fabrication and flight-testing.

In an August 1 press release, the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (Amrdec) at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., said the service has reached a “continued investment decision” on the JMR air vehicle demonstration, which it expects to begin in 2017. However, the decision “requires further coordination” with the four companies competing for selection. “Once that coordination is complete,” the Army will assemble a panel of industry and government executives to explain the next step.

In October, Amrdec awarded technology investment contracts to Sikorsky Aircraft, Bell Helicopter, AVX Aircraft and Karem Aircraft to refine their JMR proposals. Bell with the V-280 Valor and Karem Aircraft, of Lake Forest, Calif., proposed tiltrotor designs. The team of Sikorsky and Boeing with the SB-1 Defiant and AVX Aircraft Company of Benbrook, Texas, proposed compound coaxial helicopter designs.

The JMR effort is part of the U.S. Department of Defense Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program to develop a series of advanced rotorcraft that would replace the Army’s current helicopter fleet by 2030. JMR TD Phase 1 addresses the technical risk of developing an FVL medium-class air vehicle that would replace the UH-60 Black Hawk; a second phase will address mission systems.

“Our intent is to showcase the teams and technologies selected for the air vehicle demonstration, discuss the significance of the JMR TD program in developing the FVL family of systems, and show how the JMR TD supports the future of the Department of Defense vertical lift fleet and our industry partners,” said program manager Dan Bailey.