U.S. Army Awards $1.3 Billion Contract to Bell Textron to Replace Aging Black Hawk Helicopters

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Black Hawk Helicopters

The United States Army announced it awarded a contract to aerospace company Bell Textron to develop a helicopter to replace the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk.

The selection process was part of the Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program, which seeks to modernize the branch’s aviation platforms. Bell Textron’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor earned the bid over Sikorsky-Boeing’s Defiant X coaxial rotor blade platform. The contract features a total ceiling of $1.3 billion. An initial fund of $232 million will support the preliminary design and development of a V-280 Valor virtual prototype. 

Robert Barrie, the Army’s program executive officer for aviation, said the Army plans to use the prototype to proceed with the acquisition. However, Barrie added that the Army would not procure an aircraft during the acquisition’s first phase. The total award amount for the contract includes a potential engineering and manufacturing development phase worth up to $7.1 billion. Bell Textron could receive up to $70 billion depending on how many aircraft the Army orders.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary, protested the selection and requested that the U.S. Government Accountability Office review the Army’s decision. A Sikorsky statement alleged the decision did not align with the best interest of the Army, soldiers, and taxpayers.

In 2022, Bell Textron delivered 31 military aircraft and 176 civil helicopters.

Image Credit: VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock.com

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