Army Eyes Replacing Apache With FARA As Its ‘Kick In The Door’ Attack Helicopter

For decades, the AH-64 Apache has been the Army’s Alpha Dog, the aircraft you go to war in on day one. Apparently, that won’t be the case in the not-so-distant future. Some time around 2030, the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) will be its first-day fighter.

If the idea of FARA as a “kick in the door” attack helicopter comes as news to you, you’re not alone. It has largely been promoted as a light-attack reconnaissance helicopter, meant to work with other joint force platforms and air-launched affects, and to relieve the Apache of the mission once performed by the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior.


The US Army is building a ?cloud in the sky? for its aviation fleet

WASHINGTON ? The Army is building what is essentially a ?cloud in the sky? for its current aviation fleet as it prepares the aircraft to fight alongside a future fleet under development, according to Maj. Gen. Thomas Todd, the program executive officer for Army aviation.

The general spoke to Defense News in an interview ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army?s annual conference.

The current fleet won?t dissolve into thin air when future helicopters are fielded, and they will be expected to fly together in operational environments across multiple domains. The Army is aiming to field a future attack reconnaissance aircraft and a future long-range assault aircraft by 2030.


What squadron will the future attack recon helo call home?

WASHINGTON ? The U.S. Army aviation branch is considering whether the future attack reconnaissance aircraft ? expected to be fielded in 2030 ? would be housed in cavalry squadrons in lieu of attack reconnaissance squadrons, according to the Army Aviation Center of Excellence commander at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

?The Army is looking at whether or not we have a requirement to build reconnaissance and security capabilities into the corps and division level and, if we do, I believe those would include aviation and that could mean FARA is included in those formations, but it is way too early to determine that.? Maj. Gen. David Francis said in a statement.


As Future Vertical Lift Gets Underway, Army Eyeing Chinook Replacement

A week after the Army pledged nearly $4 billion on its future attack helicopter effort, Army Secretary Mark Esper said he wants aircraft makers to start planning for the service’s next heavy-lift helicopter as a replacement for the CH-47 Chinook. In the near term, the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program has prioritized building the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), followed by the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA, pronounced “flora”), and fielding both next-generation helicopters by 2028.


Why Does The U.S. Army Need Ten Years To Begin Fielding A New Recon Helicopter?

John Adams famously proposed a “government of laws and not of men.” Sometimes it seems as though what we actually ended up getting was a government of?lawyers.?The simplest decisions get bogged down in process — even when lives are on the line, even when the likely outcome of the process in question is obvious to everybody who’s paying attention.

The U.S. Army’s latest effort to acquire new armed recon helicopters is a case in point. The Army has been seeking a new rotorcraft that can find and attack targets in contested air space for a long, long time. So long that the last of its legacy recon helicopters was retired last year. By that time, the venerable Kiowa scout had been in service for nearly half a century.

Army Can Revolutionize Aviation Without Busting Budget, Leaders Say

ARMY S&T CONFERENCE: ?We?re not bringing a big bill to Congress,? Army aviation program manager Dan Bailey told me here. ?Aviation?s paying its own way.?

After an unbroken string of failed helicopter programs over the last 14 years (RAH, ARH, and AAS), Army leaders believe they?ve broken the curse with a new approach to acquisition. With mature technology and careful timing, they plan to throttle back upgrades to current helicopters ? whose modernization will be mostly complete in the next few years ? as they ramp up spending on new, much faster aircraft.

Army Lays Out Plans For Pilot-Optional ‘Knife Fighter’ Attack Reconnaissance Rotorcraft

The U.S. Army wants to have two different optionally-manned ?attack reconnaissance? aircraft prototypes ? almost certainly advanced helicopter or tilt-rotor designs ? ready for a competitive fly-off by 2022. Part of the service?s larger Future Vertical Lift program, the rotorcraft could help fill the gap left when it prematurely retired the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, offer a possible replacement for some AH-64 Apache gunships and MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones, and may offer some of the capabilities that were supposed to come along with the abortive RAH-66 Comanche stealth helicopter.

On June 22, 2018, the U.S. Army Futures Command released a draft solicitation for the proposed Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Competitive Prototype, or FARA CP, project, on the U.S. government’s main contracting website, FedBizOpps. As it stands now, the service wants to pick two finalists in 2020 and have the prototypes make their first flight in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2023, which begins on Oct. 1, 2022. The Army is looking for feedback on its initial plan by July 18, 2018, and the final version could feature a different timeline.