With reference to the the announcements that by the end of FY24, the FARA programme will be cancelled and that production of the UH-60V Black Hawk will be stopped, funds become available for other investments.
Exact plans are yet to be made, but four areas were named where investments can be expected:
- A new, multi-year production contract for UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for Sikorsky at Bridgeport (CT)
- Green light to commence production of the CH-47F Block II Chinook by Boeing at the Ridley Park, Philadeliphia (PA) location
- Continue with the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme as planned, for which the Bell V-280 Valor was selected as winner on 5 December 2022
- Increase investments in development and purchase of unmanned aerial reconnaissance systems
On the last point, it was also announced that both the AAI Corp. RQ-7 Shadow and AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) will be phased out in the near future.
It is unclear what the effect of the announced program cancellations and new investments will be on previous announced plans to reduce the UH-60 Black Hawk fleet with about 7,5% (157 airframes). This reduction was announced in December 2023, with the intention to free up budget for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).
The Bell V-280 Valor was selected as winner for this programme, and is slated to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk as of the early-2030s. On top of this, the US Army grew its UH-60 fleet from 1.806 aircraft to 2.135 aircraft due to the continues rotations and counter insurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. With only a small presence remaining in Iraq for anti-ISIS operations, the plan is to reduce the fleet to 1.978 aircraft.
Credit photo: Boeing Defense/Fred Troilo