Boeing Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA)
Boeing introduced a reconnaissance attack helicopter project designed to replace Apache AH-64 helicopters. The corresponding video is published on YouTube on 03 March 2020. The video shows an aircraft with a six-blade main rotor, four-blade pushing propeller and four-blade tail rotor. The single-engine helicopter has a double crew cabin, as well as retractable wheeled landing gear and dorsal keel. Helicopter presented by Boeing, is competing in the tender Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Pentagon planned to create replacement AH-64 Apache, serial production of which must begin with the 2028 financial year. FARA will fill a critical gap in Army aviation for an advanced light attack and reconnaissance capability, previously held by the now-retired Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.
The design – a solution validated through extensive testing and analysis – has a thrust compounded single-main rotor boasting a six-bladed rotor system, a single engine, tandem seating and a modular, state-of-the-art cockpit with a reconfigurable large area display and autonomous capabilities. The system will provide seamless integration within the Army ecosystem and a maintenance-friendly design for long-term sustainability. Boeing FARA integrates the latest proven technology and manufacturing techniques to drive down risk and costs while offering the Army a brand new, flexible design that meets all Army requirements.
Boeing FARA features include:
- Advanced design: An all-new, thrust compounded single-main rotor aircraft, with a fly-by-wire system powered by a single engine enabling agility, maneuverability and speeds beyond typical rotorcraft.
- Tandem seating: Providing pilots with needed sight lines and a narrow cross section allowing for common pilot interface in either position, improving situational awareness and battlefield survivability.
- Advanced cockpit: A modern, intuitive and reconfigurable cockpit equipped with flexible avionics, autonomous capabilities and a reconfigurable large area display with touch screen capabilities for simplicity and ease of navigation.
- Maintenance-friendly design: An advanced system designed for sustainment with focus on serviceability and accessibility. This allows for ease of overall system maintenance including the ability to load weapons without supplemental lifts for faster turnaround times.
- Open systems architecture: Proven, flexible and adaptable with room for growth as the Army’s needs and missions evolve.
Predictive health management: Designed with safety at the forefront with a system that adapts to degraded conditions using real-time diagnostics, real-time tactical maintenance and live aircraft interface capabilities.
Boeing FARA is designed to meet the Army’s current mission needs while evolving as technologies and missions change. The thrust compounded single-main rotor helicopter boasts a six-bladed rotor system, a single engine, tandem seating and a modular, state-of-the-art cockpit with a reconfigurable large area display and autonomous capabilities. “We’re offering more than a helicopter – we’re offering an affordable and fully integrated system for the Army, the mission and the future. We’ve blended innovation, ingenuity and proven rotorcraft experience with extensive testing and advanced analysis to offer a very compelling solution,” said Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Phantom Works.
The fly-by-wire design leverages more than 65 years of rotorcraft experience, proven advanced and additive manufacturing technology, and product commonality driving down risk and costs. The system will provide seamless capability within the Army ecosystem to include Long-Range Precision Fires and air-launched effects. “We listened to the Army, assessed all alternatives, and optimized our design to provide the right aircraft to meet the requirements,” said Shane Openshaw, Boeing FARA program manager. “We are offering a very reliable, sustainable and flexible aircraft with a focus on safety and the future fight.”
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