BAE Systems innovates for the high-tech military helicopter of tomorrow

Speed. Range. Survivability.

Those are just a few of the requirements listed by the Department of Defense (DoD) in a strategic plan to replace military helicopters with next-generation rotorcraft by way of a program called Future Vertical Lift (FVL).

It is a request borne out of necessity. New threats are constantly evolving both in the air and on the ground. With this awareness, the Army is taking the lead in revolutionizing current platforms, with aircraft survivability being the single most important factor driving the design and development of the next generation of rotorcraft. As the lead for the Future Vertical Lift Survivability Systems campaign within BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems sector, I consider this a critical mission, one to which our company’s technology capabilities are well suited.

The FVL initiative aims to replace the entire U.S. military helicopter fleet within the next decade, primarily with two platform priorities: A Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft or FARA, and a Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft or FLRAA. It is a modernization program that is a top priority, one where our government will, simply put, be counting on companies like BAE Systems to develop next generation platform technologies with novel approaches. It is a profound challenge, one that our company has spent decades preparing for.

Full-spectrum electronic warfare

BAE Systems has a legacy of innovation and expertise in flight electronics that stretches back more than 60 years, making FVL the next logical step in our development of capabilities.

Right now our company delivers full-spectrum electronic warfare (EW) - from radio frequency (RF) to electro-optical/infrared – and we have fielded capabilities on nearly all Army aviation fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms.

In 2020, we fielded the DoD’s most advanced threat warning system, the 2-Color Advanced Warning System, under the Army’s Limited Interim Missile Warning System program.

Our RF capabilities leverage billions of dollars in government investment in the most advanced EW capabilities from fifth-generation stealth aircraft, low-observable bombers and other cutting-edge aircraft.

BAE Systems is one of the only capability providers to develop and field fifth-generation EW, giving us leading-edge experience in creating fully integrated sensor suites that enable multi-function RF capabilities.

Our ALE-47 expendable countermeasure system is adding smart dispense and defend capability for multi-shot flares and programmable active-expendable responses. Our advanced infrared countermeasure capabilities provide defeat capabilities in a more threat-agnostic approach.

New aircraft technology on the horizon

Our team at BAE Systems includes some of the most experienced engineers in aerospace and defense who recognize that the next fleet of vertical lift aircraft will include new designs that present challenges in integrating technology. We continue to invest in technologies to solve the complex challenges of the evolving battlespace.

It is our goal to support the DoD in the design, development and fielding of a new fleet of next generation air vehicles as they enact a strategic plan to “ensure the United States’ dominance in the vertical lift domain through the 21st century and beyond.” It is a plan that directly aligns with our company’s mission of protecting the warfighter and we couldn’t be more motivated and ready to get this job done.