Joint Replacement Aircraft [JRA]
Common Vertical Lift Aircraft [CVLA]
Based on the services' current aviation modernization plans, the Defense Department is projected to spend over $41 billion to extend the capability and service life of the H-60, H-1, and AH-64 fleets until Joint Replacement Aircraft are fielded sometime after 2025. Helicopter life extension programs will fill a time gap until the Joint Replacement Aircraft -- probably a light tiltrotor -- enters the service's inventory. The Marine Corps goal is to reduce to three rotary types of aircraft: MV-22, CH-53E and the Joint Replacement Aircraft.
The Navy's Common Vertical Lift Aircraft [CVLA] will replace the UH-1N and AG-1W. It will support the helicopter air-to-air and air-to-ground mission, troop transport, and search and rescue function. It is a candidate to incorporate tilt-rotor technology developed under the V-22 program. Production start is projected for about the 2015 time frame.
The H-1 Helicopter Upgrade program will provide a bridge to a Joint Replacement Aircraft in the 2020 timeframe. Under this program, the Marine Corps is making extensive improvements to its aging fleets of UH-1N utility and AH-1W attack helicopters. The program provides for 280 existing airframes (100 UH-1N and 180 AH-1W) to be remanufactured and fitted with a newly developed drivetrain incorporating a four-bladed, all-composite rotor system. Increased commonality between the aircraft will enhance maintainability and deployability. The planned avionics upgrade will also enhance joint interoperability. Together, these upgrades will reduce program life-cycle costs, significantly improve operational capability, and extend the service life of both helicopter fleets.
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